Increases in occupancy during the first half of 2021 point to improving market conditions across the seniors housing industry, new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) revealed. 

The NIC Intra-Quarterly Snapshot released Thursday found that the stabilized occupancy rate for the seniors housing sector increased to 81.6% between May and July. The improvements are 0.6 percentage points higher than a record low of 81% reported in the previous three-month period, and still well below the pre-pandemic rate of 89.6%.

“These recent indicators point to improving market conditions; however, future occupancy will be shaped by local patterns of inventory growth and demand, and will be influenced by the broad economy, consumer confidence, ease of development, the COVID-19 delta variant and vaccination rates,” the analysis concluded. 

The findings came as the skilled nursing industry, alone, made significant strides reporting four straight months of increases by the end of May. 

NIC analysts said the SNF improvements, though promising, will still depend on several factors in order to remain steady. Among those factors will be additional government stimulus funds to aid providers.

“Hence, the question remains as to how fast the industry can increase occupancy to a sustainable level,” NIC Senior Principal Bill Kauffman speculated earlier this month.