Editor’s note, Oct. 16, 2020: Please see the follow-up story here.

The senior housing sector — including independent living and assisted living — is experiencing its largest drop in occupancy on record, according to data released today by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

Senior housing occupancy fell 2.6 percentage points to 82.1% in the third quarter, from 84.7% in the second quarter, indicating a steady decline since the pandemic began, according to the NIC MAP Data Service. It’s the second consecutive quarter in which occupancy fell more than 2.5 percentage points.

Separately, independent living and assisted living communities also saw their largest occupancy drops to date, with independent living occupancy falling 2.4 percentage points to 84.9% and assisted living occupancy falling 2.9 percentage points to 79.1%.

Independent living communities posted the largest increase in inventory since early 2009, but it’s a reflection of the “robust lending and development environment” of 18 to 24 months ago, NIC Chief Operating Officer Chuck Harry said. “Construction starts activity in the third quarter continued to be relatively weak, reflecting today’s more constrained capital markets,” he added.

This is a developing story. McKnight’s Senior Living will be reporting additional information.

Editor’s note, Oct. 16, 2020: Please see the follow-up story here.