Seniors housing and care merger and acquisition activity in the third quarter was the lowest of any quarter in the year so far, according to Irving Levin Associates.

The number of publicly announced deals in the quarter, 71, matched the third quarter of 2016, according to the company.

The quarter’s total value of transactions, at $2.5 billion, was a drop from the 2017 peak of $9.7 billion, which came in the second quarter, Levin said.

Big deals were announced during the third quarter — among them Sabra Health Care REIT’s planned acquisition of a 49% equity interest in a portfolio of 183 senior housing communities managed by Enlivant; Sabra’s investment is valued at $371 million — but buyers increasingly are showing a preference for easier, “one-off deals that come with one or two properties,” according to the Levin.

The company predicts that 2017 ultimately will not beat 2016 for the number of deals, although it may end on a better note as far as the total dollar amount.