What Are the Most Expensive Senior Living Communities in the US?

Senior living communities are notoriously tight-lipped about their costs. But having a sense of these costs is essential for operators, investors, and other stakeholders as they make crucial financial decisions.

That’s why we created LivingPath Market Intelligence, which offers access to cost data at communities around the country.

We would rather show you the kinds of insights our data can offer than tell you. So take a look at this sampling of the 34 most expensive rental senior living communities, from the shiny new Manhattan skyscrapers to the laid-back vibes of coastal SoCal.

Where Are the Country’s Most Expensive Rental Senior Living Communities?

Figure 1: Locations of the country’s most expensive senior living communities (view the interactive map)

A quick glance at Figure 1 shows that the country’s costliest communities are spread in a kind of U-shape along the coasts and southern border (plus one in Hawai‘i not visible on that map). On the one hand, that’s not a huge surprise: the country’s most expensive cities are on the coasts, and the south’s milder climate has long made it a retirement haven.

But scratch the surface a little, and there are some surprises, including the fact that some of the most expensive retirement communities are in…

  • Charlotte, North Carolina, whose rent index is a 42.37 / 100 (with 100 indexed to New York City).
  • Houston, Texas, which has a rent index of 42.7 (plus one in The Woodlands, a Houston suburb).
  • Scottsdale, Arizona, which doesn’t even crack the top 100 US cities for cost of living.

If you want a deeper dive of how much more expensive these communities are than local competitors, get in touch. We love putting together local market competition analyses.

Monthly Community Costs at the Country’s Most Expensive Senior Living Communities

So what does it cost to actually live in one of the nation’s highest-priced rental senior living communities? Here, we offer a breakdown of monthly costs for independent living, assisted living, and memory care units.

For assisted living and memory care, our numbers reflect what we call the “total starting at” cost, meaning base rent plus the lowest level of care offered in those unit types. It’s also worth mentioning that “base” rates don’t include any additional care. In every community, costs can increase dramatically from that base.

Monthly Senior Living Costs

Care Level / Unit Type Companion (Shared) Unit* Studio / Private** 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom
Independent Living N / A Average: 

$5,114 (base low) – $6,102 (base high)

Average: 

$6,566 (base low) – $7,310 (base high)

Average:

$8,697 (base low) – $11,530 (base high)

Max: 

$8,295, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights

Max: 

$11,200, Belmont Westwood

Max: 

$17,700, Murano of First Hill

Assisted Living Average:

$7,415

Average: 

$8,112

Average: 

$11,106

Average:

$10,973

Max:

$8,727, Brandywine at Livingston

Max: 

$14,000, Sunrise at East 56th

Max:

$20,000, Sunrise at East 56th

Max:

$22,295, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights

Memory Care Average:

$8,413

Average:

$9,738

N / A N / A
Max:

$11,234, Kensington at Redondo Beach

Max:

$15,234, Kensington at Redondo Beach

*To calculate averages for AL and MC units, we used a metric called “total starting at,” which includes base rent and the lowest level of care the community provides for that unit type.

**IL and AL units are typically listed as “studios”; MC units are typically listed as “private” or “companion.”

When Were the Nation’s Most Expensive Senior Living Communities Built?

We wondered how much brand-new construction was a factor in the cost of these communities, so we took a look at when they were built.

While it’s not only the shiniest, newest communities that cost the most, newer communities make up the majority of this list.

The average year of opening of these communities is 2015, but almost half have opened since 2019 (including those scheduled to open this year). Only 38 percent opened before 2017.

Figure 2: Timeline of founding of most expensive senior living communities

One thing we can’t tell from these numbers, of course, is how COVID might affect demand for high-end senior living and the amenities and features these communities offer.

We can envision a scenario where communities with excellent disease response protocol and top-tier facilities thrive as potential residents seek places where they’ll be able to stay safe and continue to engage with their limited – but fulfilling – communities.

Move-in Fees at the Most Expensive Senior Living Communities

Monthly rent is only one part of the total cost of a senior living community. Move-in fees are another – and they vary wildly (see Figure 3).

Two of these communities don’t have any move-in fee to speak of. On the other end of the spectrum, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights charges $50,000 to move into independent living.

Figure 3: Approximate move-in fees of most expensive senior living communities

About 35 percent of these communities tie their move-in fee to rent, meaning exact costs vary depending on the unit and care types a resident chooses. For the purposes of this piece, we calculated hard numbers from the highest listed base rent.

Concessions on Offer at the Nation’s Most Expensive Communities

We find current concessions to be one of the most compelling data points we gather from senior living communities. They offer a handy snapshot of a community’s current desire – and need – to attract new residents.

At the time we pulled these numbers, the most common concession at these communities was… nothing at all. Nearly 61 percent aren’t actively marketing any deals to encourage people to move in (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Current concessions

Fifteen percent of these communities are waiving one month’s rent, with another 18 percent waiving or reducing the community fee. Only four are discounting base rent, and just one is offering a move-in fee reduction or flexible spending credit.

What Do You Want to Know?

Enjoyed getting a sense of what’s happening at the most expensive rental senior living communities in the country? We hope so. If you would like to see the full report or know of any communities we might have missed, let us know.

But there’s probably a different set of senior living data that would be more valuable to you. If that’s the case, shoot us an email (bdevelopment@livingpath.com) and let us know how we can help. We’d love to put together a competition analysis for any of your markets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.