Senior housing occupancy showed no overall change in the second quarter of 2021, maintaining at 78.7 percent, according to new National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) MAP® data, generated by NIC MAP Vision.
Although COVID-19 cases in senior living properties continued to drop significantly in the last quarter, overall occupancy has not increased, which NIC attributes to new inventory coming online.
Despite unchanged occupancy, demand for senior housing improved in the second quarter.
“Second quarter data confirm anecdotes that occupancy at many properties improved as move-ins accelerated, thanks to limited property-level COVID-19 infections,” said NIC Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace. “However, inventory grew and outpaced demand, and that’s why we aren’t seeing an occupancy uptick.”
Both assisted living and independent living properties experienced little change in occupancy, with independent living holding steady at 81.8 percent, and assisted living rising slightly to 75.5 percent.
San Jose (83.7 percent), Portland, Ore. (83.4 percent), and San Francisco (83.4 percent) had the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that encompass NIC MAP’s Primary Markets. The markets experiencing the lowest occupancy rates included Houston (73.0 percent), Atlanta (74.8 percent), and Las Vegas (74.9 percent).
Looking further at the data, occupancy increases are being reported by a growing number of operators. In the second quarter of 2021, without breaking down percentages by care settings, 47 percent of senior housing properties in the NIC MAP Primary Markets reported an increase in occupancy. During the height of the pandemic, only 22.5 percent of properties reported occupancy increases.
“Some areas of the country are seeing senior housing occupancy improve, but the data show that we haven’t fully turned the corner,” said Chuck Harry, NIC’s chief operating officer. “Senior housing occupancy remaining unchanged suggests that it will likely take more time to see broad, nationwide improvement to the levels prior to the onset of the pandemic.”
There is a wide gap in performance between markets in NIC MAP’s Primary Markets. In Atlanta and Detroit, 55 percent of properties reported overall occupancy improvement, compared with just 33 percent of properties in Chicago.