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Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

retirement communities

A well-built community makes your property more than a building; it makes it a home for tenants and a hub for an excellent reputation.

Although the common belief is that tenants of a certain age seek to move to warmer weather or assisted living facilities, that’s not always the case. Naturally occurring retirement communities, or NORCs, have been discussed by urban planners since the 1980s. Much like neighborhoods that grow around ethnic and economic backgrounds, these communities grow around residents living and ageing together in the same building for many years. Many of these communities have developed programs to offer social and healthcare services to their members, but you can make your building more attractive to such a community by offering amenities and services that appeal to their demographic. The twist? Many of these features also appeal to younger tenants, too!

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What Is a NORC?

Classic NORCs, the ones that helped define the term, are also known as vertical or closed NORCs. These housing-based communities usually sprout up in a single location where a community arises in a single building, a complex of buildings under the same management, or in an area where several apartment buildings cluster together and share tenants. Neighborhood NORCS reflect several homes clustered together featuring residents of the same age. Rural NORCs are more spread out, usually in an area of lower population density.

Building Features

Your building may already have features in your units that NORC members value. Single types of flooring, for example, cut down on the amount of clean-up and maintenance required for the unit. Micro washers and dryers save time spent at the laundromat or a relative’s house. Convenient parking cuts down on walking times. While there’s been a lot of talk about the popularity of small spaces for millennials lately, many of these communities want similar, if not the same options to choose from. Much as the new generation is struggling with loan debt and wage stagnation, the older generation is dealing with reduced pensions and fixed incomes.retirement communities

The truth is, many of the tenants that are in this age bracket don’t want the regimented living of their parents and what they saw as retirement communities growing up. They want to keep their bodies sharp with on-site gym facilities, be able to entertain friends and family in communal party rooms, and to head downstairs to do laundry in a safe, economical environment. Many healthcare centers are integrating holistic care into their facilities. Your units can offer a similar appeal for seniors who want to stay active parts of their lives in their twilight years.

Location Features

An excellent location for a building appealing to this sort of community is one located near a preexisting healthcare facility. The residents may not need in-home care or assisted living, but the proximity of doctors and other providers can appeal to those with reoccurring conditions. It also offers support for family and friends visiting their loved one in a community. If someone else is seeing the same doctor, they might want to ask advice, or look for suggestions on choosing a new doctor if it’s needed.

retirement communitiesUrban centers were where the concept of the naturally occurring retirement community began, and properties in those areas are still the strongest. These locations often feature access to easy public transportation, unique shopping and entertainment, and other features within walking distance of the building. Sometimes a nearby restaurant serves as an unofficial gathering space for the community. If a community has already started growing in one of your buildings, fostering it will encourage other potential renters to join them and help growth.

Naturally occurring retirement communities create opportunities for landlords looking to cater to an expanding market. Classic naturally occurring retirement communities grew around residents of the same age growing old together in a building. Today, these communities encourage active senior living, shared experiences, and support for the challenges these residents see today. Featuring amenities in the unit as well as ones that help seniors keep up their standard of living can help create and sustain these communities. A well-built community makes your property more than a building; it makes it a home for tenants and a hub for an excellent reputation.


Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Addison Place licensed under CC by 2.0.
Post images “Mesa Royale” courtesy of Flickr user Scott Jacob, and “Barcelona” courtesy of Flickr user Soreen D licensed under CC by 2.0.

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