Study: Top CCRC shrug off broader real estate woes

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The top developers of continuing care retirement communities remain extremely bullish on growth prospects, despite the sub-prime mortgage meltdown that has gripped the U.S. housing market, according to results of a new study released Tuesday.

"They're still feeling very strong. I think a lot of that shows how strong the growth of the largest (providers) is," said Lisa Lehman, managing partner of Holleran Consulting. She released results of her analysis yesterday afternoon at the annual meeting of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Holleran conducted telephone interviews between June and September with top officials at 82 of the country's 100 largest eldercare organizations. Most respondents -- including those at the 10 largest organizations -- currently have expansion construction projects underway. In addition, nearly 90% of respondents in the largest 10 organizations said they plan to acquire new communities in the next two years. Another "Wow!" factor, Lehman said, was that half the respondents said their organizations own land on which they plan to build new communities; that includes 54.5% of respondents in the largest 25 and 67% of those in the largest 10. Two-thirds indicated they expected to build new communities within four years.

Among other findings: Neither the age of a provider's organization nor the type of CCRC contracts offered significantly affected resident satisfaction scores.