Seniors housing holds strong in weak economy

Share this content:
It’s a great time to be in seniors housing.

I know that must sound pretty naive, given that “great” does not exactly evoke the current state of economic affairs. But considering the broader landscape, I’d say those working for private-pay senior-living organizations are, for the moment, in a rather secure place.

At least that’s the impression given by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry—the go-to research and education organization for the senior-living industry. Despite the housing slump, massive layoffs and economy crippled by soaring gas and food prices, seniors housing is chugging along—not at last year’s ferocious place, mind you, but steadily.

Operating fundamentals for the assisted- and independent-living sectors for the first quarter of 2008 “remained relatively stable,” the organization said. Key indicators of the sectors’ health, such as occupancy and the percentage of non-performing loans, were generally positive.

“We’re really not seeing a significant amount of stress on the industry as of yet from the spillover of the residential housing market and economic slowdown,” said Michael Hargrave, vice president of NIC MAP, the organization’s data and analysis service.

That sounds like good news to me. Only one major indicator reflects the broader economic picture—loan volume. The amount of financing placed in the sector fell nearly 60% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.

Even that is not necessarily cause for alarm. It likely will result in a slowdown in construction activity going forward, but does not portend doom.

All this goes to show that where there is demand there is business. And the need for seniors housing shows no signs of letting up. That information right there is money in the bank.

Next Article in Daily Editors' Notes

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.