New RE Idea: Affordable Senior Housing


A senior-housing project aimed at middle-class adults gives them an option other than “dying in my house.” The Mass. prototype charges only $1,800 per month.

NEWTON, Mass. – The developer 2Life Communities broke ground March 6 on a senior housing project that’s affordable to middle-class residents. Monthly rents will be as low as $1,800 at the $100 million development in Newton, Mass.

Comparable independent living communities in the Boston region charge $4,200 a month, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

The entrance fee at the affordable community starts at $395,000, which is about one-third the entrance cost at other senior housing facilities. Plus when a resident leaves or dies, 80% of the fee will be refunded to them or family members.

Almost all of the project’s 174 units have been reserved with deposits, says Amy Schectman, 2Life’s chief executive.

The senior housing industry is closely watching the project to see whether some of its money-saving efforts are exportable. For example, 2Life serves group dinners only three nights a week and requires residents to volunteer 10 hours a month.

The high costs of development, labor, meal services, transportation and programming have made it very difficult to cut rents at the U.S.’s 1.8 million senior housing units, which provide a range of care from just meals and programming for adults who live in their own apartments to skilled nursing and memory care.

Efforts to offer affordable housing have been made even more difficult since the pandemic because senior housing initially was crushed by soaring costs and a nosedive in occupancy.

Source: Wall Street Journal (03/07/23) Grant, Peter

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