'Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities' In First Suburbs

A new Brookings Institution report examines the growth of NORCs in inner-ring suburbs, and how to maintain them in the face of rising property taxes and energy costs.

"You may not realize it, but you could be living in a NORC. NORC is short for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community. Still not clear?

A NORC is the opposite of a planned retirement community. A NORC could be a community, neighborhood, building or whatever real estate subset you choose, that evolves, well, naturally. For example, say you live in a condominium building on the North Side of Chicago. It just happens that most of the residents are older people. In most cases, the residents didn't move there old, they just got older along with the building. That's a NORC.

Big NORCs (think entire towns) are the subject of a new study recently released by the prestigious Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. The study actually looked at so-called first suburbs, the inner-ring towns largely built in the 1950s adjacent to big cities."

"'First suburbs face a number of problems, [Robert] Puentes said. 'These towns are wrestling with challenges,' he said. In short, the towns have to figure out how to put programs in place to allow older people to keep their homes while dealing with rising property taxes and energy costs. At the same time, towns have to find a way to keep themselves vital with young, new residents. 'Many communities recognize the problems, but few are stepping up and doing anything about it," said Puentes.'"

Full Story: Seniors find 'first suburbs' are a natural place to retire

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