Senior housing is attracting more interest this year than last as investors seek higher yields and protection against real estate downturns, according to commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE’s “Investor Intentions Survey 2018.”

Other “alternatives” in addition to senior housing, such as healthcare and student housing, as well as value-added assets and secondary markets, also are draws for the approximately 300 people whose thoughts are reflected in the report, CBRE said.

In fact, according to the research, real estate debt is the most common alternative for investors, but senior housing / retirement living, healthcare and student housing are the next most common alternatives, and each is held by approximately 20% of investors. Nineteen percent of participants said they already are invested in retirement and senior housing properties, and an additional 20% said they are actively pursuing investments in this area.

Higher initial yields were the main reason for considering alternatives, respondents said, with 27% citing that reason. The next two reasons, however — protection against real estate downturns (20%) and benefit from structural changes in demand (17%) — are related to demographic and other trends and help explain the increased interest in senior housing assets, the authors said.

The report may be downloaded on the CBRE website.