The memory care sector continued to take a hit in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to key takeaways from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s quarterly Seniors Housing Actual Rates Report, posted Wednesday.

Memory care discounts in December were at their highest level since April 2020, and the sector had the largest monthly spread of below-average initial asking rates when compared with independent living and assisted living, the organization reported. The sector averaged 10.2% below average asking rates, equating to an average initial rate discount of 1.2 months on an annualized basis, it noted. In September, it had averaged 8.4% below average asking rates.

As of December, memory care’s rate of move-outs exceeded or equaled the rate of move-ins for five of the past 12 months. A similar trend as of December also was seen in independent living and assisted living, with move-outs exceeding or equalling move-in rates for each of the prior 12 months. But the overall difference between the pace of move-outs and move-ins in the senior living industry was widest in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic start, NIC said.

Other major fourth-quarter findings, culled from the NIC MAP Data Service, include: 

  • Initial rates for assisted living care units averaged 7.1% ($364) below average asking rates as of December, equating to an average initial rate discount of 0.9 months on an annualized basis, even with one year earlier.
  • The average annualized discount for independent living segments was 0.8 months in December 2020, more than in December 2019 at 0.6 months.
  • Average in-place rates for residents in assisted living and memory care segments were below average asking rates. The discount was smaller for in-place rates than initial rates compared with asking rates.

NIC MAP provides market-level data on the entire sector’s property types and care segments, from more than 15,000 properties within 140 U.S. metro markets.