Senior living (independent living and assisted living, including memory care) is “on track for a ninth consecutive quarterly gain, with a half percentage point increase in the first two months of the third quarter of 2023,” according to a blog post from Omar Zahraoui, principal at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

The occupancy rate for senior living for the 31 primary markets followed by NIC MAP edged up to 84.2% in the August reporting period. That’s up 0.1 percentage points from the July reporting period on a three-month rolling basis. From its pandemic record low of 77.8% in June 2021, occupancy has increased 6.4 percentage points and now sits at 2.9 percentage points below pre-pandemic March 2020 levels of 87.1%.

The occupancy rate for majority independent living properties increased or remained stable in 20 of the 31 primary markets in the August reporting period compared with July, Zahraoui noted. The occupancy rate for assisted living communities increased or remained stable in 27 of the markets.

NIC Analytics recently developed a new measure, the absorption-to-inventory velocity, to serve as an indicator of how effectively the market absorbs or leases the newly supplied units on a net basis.

“Distinct regional trends, influenced by factors such as demographics, economic conditions, and even historical patterns, shape the AIV ratios we observe today. Some regions have shown resilience, moving closer to pre-pandemic occupancy levels, while others still grapple with the ramifications of the pandemic years,” Zahraoui said. “As we move forward, it is essential for stakeholders to recognize these regional nuances, tailoring strategies that cater to specific regional needs, opportunities, and resident profiles. In the ever-evolving world of senior housing, being attuned to such regional insights could very well be the key to future success.”

According to Zahraoui, from the first quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2023, the Southwest region experienced the most robust recovery, with an AIV ratio of 56:10, the highest among all regions. The Southwest was the only region that reached its pre-pandemic occupancy level by the second quarter of 2023.

The Mountain and Northeast regions had high AIV ratios of 36:10 and 35:10, respectively, and the Pacific region had an AIV ratio of 24:10. The East North, Mid-Atlantic and West North Central regions recorded AIV ratios in the low twenties, NIC noted.