Senior living experiences highest year-over-year growth in asking rates since 2017: NIC – McKnight’s Senior Living

The independent living, assisted living and memory care sectors of long-term care in the fourth quarter of 2021 all experienced the highest year-over-year growth in asking rates since NIC MAP began reporting the data in 2017, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care.

Assisted living, at 6.6%, had the highest increase of the three sectors, followed by independent living (6%) and then memory care (3.5%), according to the recent NIC MAP Seniors Housing Actual Rates Report. The report is drawn from national monthly data through December 2021 of actual rates and leasing velocity.

“These gains continue the trend of growth in asking rates that started earlier in 2021 following the immense pandemic-related pressures of 2020,” Anne Standish, NIC research statistician, wrote in a blog Tuesday. 

Occupancy increased, too

Additionally, the report shows that senior living occupancy rose to 81%, an increase of 100 basis points (1%), during the fourth quarter.

Occupancy in independent living averaged 83.6%, a 60-basis-point (0.6%) increase over the third quarter. Average occupancy in assisted living rose to 78.3%, representing a 140-basis-point (1.4%) increase over the previous quarter. By comparison, skilled nursing averaged 77.2% in the fourth quarter, for a 90-basis-point (0.9%) increase from the previous quarter.

Move-ins outpaced move-outs in independent living, assisted living and memory care in the fourth quarter. In fact, move-ins outpaced move-outs for 10 consecutive quarters from March 2021 through December 2021, according to the data. 

Rates were discounted

“Average initial rates for residents moving in were discounted below asking rates for all three care segments. Initial rate discounts were slightly greater in the fourth quarter of 2021 than in the third quarter for independent living segments and memory care segments,” Standish wrote.

Of the three segments, memory care had the largest initial rate discounting of 10.2% ($719) in December. On an annualized basis, that discount equals 1.2 months, Standish said, who said that the least discounting in 2021 for memory care segments was still high, at 7.9% ($547) in August.

Across the industry, of three metropolitan markets reported, the largest discounting in initial rates from asking rates for residents moving into senior living were in Atlanta’s assisted living segment (December 2021) and Phoenix’s independent living segment (November 2021), which both were at 17.1%, or 2.1 months on an annualized basis.