About one-fourth (24%) of senior housing and skilled nursing operators now expect their development pipelines to decrease. That’s according to data collected from the most recent Executive Survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

The main reasons cited for the expected development pipeline reduction is uncertainty, survey respondents noted. A full 20% or organizations, however, actually expect their development pipelines to increase, with respondents citing lower interest rates, planned projects continuing to make progress, growth opportunities in the market and favorable acquisition pricing as reasons for this prediction.

The latest survey — Wave 15 — included responses collected Oct. 26 to Nov. 8 from owners and executives across 64 senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities. 

The survey also found that staffing is a growing challenge for many operators. More than two-thirds of respondents reported that they are using agency or temp staff to fill vacancies — 70% up from 36% in Wave 3. Although down slightly from Wave 14, most respondents are continuing to pay staff overtime hours, putting ongoing strain on net operating income. Although fewer organizations in Wave 15 than earlier in the pandemic continue to allow staff to work remotely and offer paid sick leave, three-fourths still are offering flexible work hours.

“A key underlying theme that can be derived from looking at the findings of the Wave 15 NIC Executive Insights survey as a whole is uncertainty,” noted Lana Peck, senior principal at NIC. “Uncertainty around the need for seniors housing and care operators to use temporary and agency staff, ability to grow [net operating income] amid rising costs of labor and personal protective equipment, the pace of sales in light of consumer concerns about being able to visit loved ones, and the direction of record low occupancy rates. When [and how] life as we knew it will settle into a new normal are all being driven by the durability of the pandemic.”