Occupancy in real estate investment trust Ventas’ senior housing operating portfolio increased 110 basis points (1.1%) to 83.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the previous quarter, the Chicago-based company reported Thursday.

The portfolio has seen 10 consecutive months of sequential occupancy growth and five consecutive months of year-over-year occupancy growth, according to the REIT.

“Robust underlying demand continues despite typical seasonality,” Ventas said.

The company said it expects fourth-quarter funds from operations to be at the high end of the previously issued guidance range before the REIT received approximately $6 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Ventas completed or announced $3.7 billion in investments in 2021 and expects to close on approximately $0.3 billion of investments this quarter. 

The REIT closed on $1.2 billion of dispositions and loan repayments in 2021, which included approximately $350 million in loan repayments at a yield of more than 9% and approximately $850 million of non-core senior housing and medical office building asset sales at below the 4% cap rate. About $1.1 billion in proceeds were used to pay down near-term maturities, and $0.1 billion was used to fund acquisitions.

The pandemic continues to affect the REIT’s bottom line, Ventas said. COVID-19 cases among employees accelerated in the latter part of the fourth quarter into early this year, which has increased the need for agency staff, who work at a higher cost per hour than regular staff members, in addition to higher testing and personal protective equipment expenses.

Almost all of the communities in the Ventas portfolio are open to new admissions, according to the REIT, but some have more stringent protocols in place than others.