NIC: Senior housing sets record for absorption, nursing home occupancy flat

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The average occupancy rate for senior housing sailed past 90% in the third quarter, and the absorption rate set a single-quarter record, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care announced Friday.

“While seniors housing's moderate rate of inventory growth continued during the third quarter, with approximately 2,600 units coming online in the primary markets, the rise in demand was almost twice that rate,” said Chuck Harry, NIC's managing director and director of research and analytics. “The primary markets realized record absorption during the quarter, as the number of occupied seniors housing units increased by nearly 5,000 — the highest rate of absorption in one quarter since the NIC MAP time series began as of year-end 2005.”

Annual absorption reached 2.9% in the third quarter, up from 2.6% in the second.

There has been a well-observed slowdown in the nursing care sector as other senior living options have grown — a point driven home recently at the annual NIC conference in Chicago. The third quarter numbers bear this out, as assisted living occupancy increased 0.5 percentage points and independent living occupancy increased 0.4 percentage points, compared to a flat occupancy rate for nursing care. Annual inventory growth also was flat. However, private pay rents for the nursing sector were up 2.8% year-over-year.