woman pushing rollator walking down corridor

As the effects of the pandemic continue to take a toll on long-term care, occupancy rates within majority assisted living properties fell below 80% in January, according to the latest intra-quarterly snapshot released Thursday by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s NIC MAP Data Service.

Assisted living occupancy is down 8.6% since March, according to the report. The one percentage point drop in the January reporting period from the December reporting period pushed stabilized occupancy rates for assisted living below 80% for the first time since NIC began reporting the data in 2005.

Occupancy rates within majority independent living also dropped in January, falling to 84.9%. Independent living occupancy is down 6.5% since March, the report showed. Inventory within independent living also is up compared with last January, increasing by 2.5%, or 8,263 units.

NIC also reported Thursday that three metropolitan markets have seen more than a 10% decline in stabilized independent living occupancy since March: St. Louis, Tampa, FL, and Las Vegas, with the largest drop in Tampa at 11.5 percentage points to 80.6% in the January reporting period. Miami had the largest decline (12.5 percentage points, to 76%) for assisted living over the same period.

Among the 31 NIC MAP primary markets followed by NIC, the smallest stabilized occupancy declines since the pandemic began have been in San Antonio for independent living (170 basis points, or 1.7%, to 83.9%, and Kansas City for assisted living (down 400 basis points, or 4%, to 83.5%).