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Study: 2,500 senior housing units needed by 2030 in Jamestown region

The South Central Dakota Regional Council hired Maxfield Research & Consulting last year to conduct the housing study for the 9 counties.

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The projected population growth by age in the nine counties the South Central Dakota Regional Council serves from 2022 to 2027 are those 75 and older at 14.7% and individuals 65 to 74 with 13.2%. Individuals ages 55 to 64 are projected with the least growth in the nine counties with 12.5%. The South Central Dakota Regional Council hired Maxfield Research & Consulting last year to do the housing study for the nine counties, including Stutsman County.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – A nine-county housing study found the need for about 2,500 senior housing units by 2030, according to Matt Mullins, president of Maxfield Research & Consulting.

“Chances are the demand will never be met,” Mullins said.

The South Central Dakota Regional Council hired Maxfield Research & Consulting last year to do the housing study for the nine counties – Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells – the Regional Council serves. The last nine-county housing study was completed in 2013.

The housing study showed the three highest population ages for 2022 in the nine counties being 75 and older with 12.5% of the population, 13.2% being 65 to 74 and 15.6% being 55 to 64 years old. In North Dakota, the three highest population ages for 2022 are ages 25 to 34 with 14.4% of the population, 13.1% being 55 to 64 and 12.1% being 35 to 44.

MORE ON THE HOUSING STUDY:

The projected population growth by age in the nine counties from 2022 to 2027 is those 75 and older at 14.7% and individuals 65 to 74 with 13.2%. Individuals ages 55 to 64 are projected with the least growth in the nine counties with 12.5%.

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“As they (population) ages over the next five years, the baby boomers are really driving a lot of this big growth,” Mullins said.

He said baby boomers who sell their single-family homes may want to rent, which allows the houses to go into the housing market and younger buyers to purchase the home.

“A lot of the apartment demand we are seeing does come from the older demographic,” he said. “They want an apartment, and they don’t want to go to senior housing. They just want a typical apartment.”

The study found 37% of people in the nine counties live alone, and many could be senior citizens, he said. He said individuals living alone want much smaller housing units, including rentals.

One issue with the projected increase of an older demographic is the lack of rentals, he said. Overall, the nine counties have a 1.9% vacancy rate for 12-plus rental units, 1.6% vacancy rate in market-rate rentals and a 2.4% vacancy rate for affordable or subsidized rentals, Mullins said. He said the vacancy rate should be about 5% but an optimal rate would be 7%.

In Stutsman County, there are 1,421 rental units, including 1,204 market rate, 177 affordable and 40 subsidized units. In the nine-county area, there are 2,856 rental units, including 2,285 market rate, 322 affordable and 249 subsidized units.

Market-rate rentals are units that have no restrictions in rental prices from an income standpoint.

The demographic ages 65 and older in the nine-county region has the highest home ownership rates in Stutsman and Barnes counties, where 58% of the population lives.

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“They are not selling their homes, downsizing or rightsizing,” Mullins said.

The senior housing inventory in the nine-county region includes 986 units and 33 properties. Stutsman County has 442 units and Barnes County has 261 units.

Mullins said the types of senior housing that are needed is for independent active adults and affordable units.

“We are not talking about nursing homes,” he said. “That is more of an institutionalized setting.”

The nearly 2,500 senior housing units needed in the nine counties include 600 market-rate rentals and 572 affordable rentals.

“The demand is there,” Mullins said, referring to the overall senior housing needs. “They could certainly be attracted to a lot of different product types.”

Outside of Stutsman and Barnes counties, he said most counties in the nine-county region don’t have many options for seniors if they want to relocate.

“They are relocating to be closer to their grandkids or their kids,” he said. “A lot of mobility happens if you don’t have senior housing in your community.”

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He said alternative housing products are needed for the aging demographic that includes rentals and one-level homes. He said seniors love villas or twin homes because they can be built more economically and are easy to maintain.

“They sell like hot cakes,” he said.

He said assisted-living facilities have the lowest demand because a lot of the units have already been built.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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