Senior living occupancy levels appear to be inching their way back from an all-time low of 78.7% in March, according to the intra-quarterly report published last week by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

The rate for senior housing overall climbed 0.1 percentage point to 79% in the May reporting period for the 31 NIC MAP primary markets.

“Cautious optimism” is the key take-away from the report, although occupancy is still 8.5 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic data from March 2020, which showed occupancy at 87.5%. This correlates with anecdotal evidence presented at last week’s Nareit’s REITweek Investor Conference.

Assisted living occupancy saw little change month-over-month from April to May, but the sector is up 0.3 percentage points to 75.8% since March for the NIC MAP primary markets. Assisted living occupancy increased or remained stable in 17 of the primary markets for May.

Independent living properties saw gains of 0.1 percentage point in both April and May. Occupancy increased or remained stable in 17 of the primary markets in May.