Senior care investment market on the rise, expert panel says

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Prospects in the seniors housing and care markets continue to rise, according to a panel of experts.

Medicare reimbursement has improved the outlook for skilled nursing facilities, while rising occupancy levels in assisted living are reason for optimism, panel members said. Stronger balance sheets in general also have boosted confidence, according to those attending the "Rising from the Ashes" session hosted by The SeniorCare Investor newsletter.

The conference revealed that, although the average price per bed at SNFs has risen slightly since 2003, based on the first half of 2004, bed prices remain near historical lows of about $32,000 a year as a result of restructurings, foreclosures and chain divestitures.

Assisted living costs may rise noticeably when facilities are improved, said conference moderator Stephen M. Monroe, editor of The SeniorCare Investor.