Heading into the New Year, home ownership is top of mind for B.C. seniors. With instability in the real estate market, many feel stuck, wondering if this is the right time to sell – even if they know renting makes the most sense for their lifestyle.
Home prices and sales have cooled off from 2020 highs, partly due to rising interest rates. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in November 2022 decreased compared to the same period in 2021. Fortunately, heading into 2023, the REBGV also predicts the market is likely to trend toward typical averages and seasonal norms, depending on forecoming economic factors and housing policies.”
On the flip side, as interest rates increase, some homeowners may no longer be able to afford their mortgage payments, and will put their houses up for sale. This will ultimately increase market inventory, pushing housing prices down. Additionally, if you live in a condo or townhouse, new government legislation has removed the restriction on rentals within the strata, potentially triggering increases in strata fees and insurance premiums.
What does all of this mean for seniors, especially those who are mortgage-free? It’s a good time to get ahead of the curve and sell now.
Those who decide not to sell face a conundrum: how to manage the increasing burden of home ownership as the cost of living soars. Even if your mortgage is long paid off, ownership comes with a host of costs, responsibilities and challenges: property taxes, repairs, seasonal maintenance, yard upkeep, safety concerns, isolation and a lack of cash resources.
For these reasons, more and more seniors are turning to renting – especially in purpose-built seniors’ communities. Here are six signs renting in a seniors’ residence community might be a good move in 2023:
1. Home maintenance is tougher than it used to be. Renting in a seniors’ community means all the repairs, chores and responsibilities are taken care of, with the building owner and operator footing bill. And while someone else is busy maintaining and repairing your place, your time is free to pursue an active lifestyle.
2. You wish you had more time to spend with family and friends. Living in an independent seniors’ community gives you all that time back, so you’re freed up to travel with family or friends, relax, work out, read, or simply enjoy life with people you love.
3. It’s harder to get around than it used to be. As we grow older, our needs shift. Renting gives you the flexibility to choose a neighbourhood or a location with easy access to amenities like grocery stores, medical and professional offices, and recreational opportunities – plus proximity to green spaces.
4. You’re spending more and more time alone. Getting older can be lonely. Older adults are at increased risk of loneliness and social isolation because they are more likely to face living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss. But renting in a purpose-built seniors’ community gives you access to like-minded people day in and day out.
5. You don’t feel as safe on your own. As we age, we may worry about a timely response to an unexpected health event, or how to protect ourselves from petty crime or fraud. Seniors’ residences offer 24-7 emergency response systems that can be activated either in your suite or via a portable device. Buildings also feature 24-7 staffing, safety fob entrances and security cameras.
6. You wish you had more cash on hand. Selling a home releases all that equity you’ve had tied up in that investment for years. Now you can allocate resources to what matters most at this time of your life: fulfilling personal goals, or even helping children or grandchildren pay down their mortgages or purchase their first home. Look for senior-living residences that offer secure yearly rental rates, so you can lock in an affordable payment.
Learn more about renting at PARC, the Lower Mainland’s best active-living community for aging adults.