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Health-Centered Communities May Start To Resonate In Coronavirus Era

Health-centered communities, neighborhoods where millennials, baby boomers, technological advances, and new health care delivery models all converge, can be the blueprint of urban and suburban planning even in the age of COVID-19 and especially post-COVID-19, says Dennis Frenchman, Director of the MIT Center for Real Estate and the Class of 1922 Professor of Urban Design and Planning.

“Baby boomers are looking for convenient, affordable, aging-in-place health care options. Millennials, meanwhile, are pursuing physical environments that support their well-being and community-centric values,” Frenchman tells “Our goal is to provide a blueprint for how to navigate these complex and profound demographic and cultural shifts taking shape throughout our society.”

Frenchman and his colleague, Stanley Shaw, plan on offering the course, Developing Health-Centered Communities: The Next Revolution.” in Real Estate in the Fall.

Baby boomers are aging and healthcare is foremost on their mind while most millennials are trying to lead healthy lifestyles by eating healthy foods and leading active social lives.

“These two generations are colliding in terms of health and wellness,” observes Frenchman.

Another plus to these communities for baby boomers how older buildings relate to their health.

“Living and working in an older, poorly ventilated building can negatively contribute to your health and longevity,” explains Frenchman. “If you have better quality air, sunlight and an overall healthy environment, landlords and developers can get premium rents.”

For these and other reasons, millennials are now suggesting their parents move to a health-centered community where parents can age in place instead of assisted-living facilities. As a result, the younger generation has more contact with the older generation, Frenchman says.

These communities tend to feature health centers in addition to the ubiquitous clubhouse. The developers also encourage walking around the community instead of driving everywhere. Instead of flattening hills, developers keep them intact to promote more exercise and movements.

“Health-centered communities also feature bike trails, social opportunities, horse stables and wellness programs,” says Frenchman. “Developers who offer these products will garner a lot of interest from all age groups.”


People are naturally social animals and the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in attending or hosting social events. In this age of social distancing however, healthy-centered communities can easily adapt to not interacting or engaging at any given time.

“Technology will solve some of the need but not necessarily all. However, it can work for a period of time,” explains Frenchman. “With digital technology, and in a health-centered community, patients are monitored remotely in their own environment. They can actually monitor their own oxygen, pollutants, carbon monoxide, etc. These tests are important for many reasons but it also shows you the physiological response of people as they live on their own environment.”

Frenchman believes these health-centered communities are simply a better way of living.

“There are less ER visits and less hospital stays,” says Frenchman. “Encouraging people to use their body and minds and overall just take care of themselves in this age of COVID-19 is always a good thing and it can also result in profits.”


Source: GlobeSt.

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Health Care Real Estate Could Be A Coronavirus Safe Haven

It’s hard to imagine many stocks will do well through the coronavirus pandemic. But health care stocks and real estate investment trusts tend to be defensive sectors that investors flock to because they pay huge dividend yields.

So what happens when you combine the two?

Health care REITs might be a good bet in this scary market environment. Many are positioned well to help manage the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, particularly companies that own and operate hospitals, medical offices and life sciences and biotech facilities.

“Health care REITs are generally the most defensive, economically resilient property type in the REIT industry,” said CFRA Research analyst Kenneth Leon in a report last week. “The group offers steady cash flow, low risk of rental rate volatility, and stable occupancy levels.”

Leon said that three in particular that he’s recommending are Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE), Healthcare Trust of America (HTA) and Medical Properties Trust (MPW).

Healthy Dividend Yields Are A Big Plus In Uncertain Times

The recent interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve may also help boost health care REITs — and all real estate firms — because of their solid dividend yields.

The three healthcare REITs that Leon recommends pay dividend yields ranging from 2.7% to 5%. With the Fed widely expected to slash interest rates again at its meeting next week, perhaps all the way back to 0%, the income that REITs generate will become even more tantalizing to investors flocking to safe havens.

“While COVID-19 has created near-term economic uncertainty, the REIT industry’s strong earnings, solid balance sheets, and high occupancy rates demonstrate that they are entering this situation well-positioned to handle a potential economic slowdown,” said Steven A. Wechsler, president and CEO of the Nareit trade group.

Senior Living Centers Look Risky

But not all health care real estate firms will thrive. Leon thinks investors should avoid companies that run senior living centers, because they won’t be able to safely show their properties to prospective new residents. He noted that many went into lockdown mode during the flu season of late 2017 and early 2018. And the COVID-19 outbreak is even scarier.

“Coronavirus may limit senior housing operators from showing their properties to prospective residents,” Leon wrote. “Precaution is a top priority for health care operators to better control an elevated death rate from severe flu conditions for the elderly.”

Leon remains wary of companies that operate senior housing centers, most notably Healthpeak Properties (PEAK)Ventas (VTR) and Welltower (WELL). Their rental revenue and profit growth will probably be squeezed by the admission of fewer residents.

“Operators cannot conduct visitor tours and sign up new residents.
Senior housing is in effect quarantined to new prospective residents and their families,” Leon wrote.


Source: CNN Business

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