New ways to advance transparency discussed at 2023 NIC Spring Conference.
Robust data and transparency continue to fuel the growth of the senior housing and care industry. Stakeholders rely on solid information to make big decisions. No one can afford guesswork.
Addressing the importance of reliable data to inform decision-making, the 2023 NIC Spring Conference featured a Data Town Hall. The interactive session opened the floor to attendees in a town hall format. Participants discussed how the industry can advance transparency for senior housing and skilled nursing stakeholders.
“We’ve come a long way in the last several years with our data and analytics,” said NIC President and CEO Ray Braun, who led the town hall session. “We have transformed the industry by making it more transparent.”
Audience questions were fielded by Braun, along with NIC Chief Operating Officer Chuck Harry; NIC Chief Economist Beth Mace; and Arick Morton, CEO at NIC MAP Vision.
To set the stage, Morton provided an update on new data initiatives. “We have an incredible demand side run ahead of us,” he said. But Morton cautioned that the growing demand for senior living among aging baby boomers will not be evenly distributed. “We are focused on where the market is moving,” he said.
Here are just some of the new data tools from NIC MAP Vision:
- An interactive transaction analytics platform that segments data by subcategory.
- A national property transaction comparison model for better acquisition and disposition decision-making.
- An operating comparison model that quickly charts buildings of a similar type in a market area.
- Portfolio analysis to understand performance at the unit level relative to competitors.
- A free-of-charge listing platform of properties for sale that users can browse.
- A stakeholder library and database of owners and operators by building.
- A consolidated data set on consumers by market that includes age, income, and psychographics.
- New models that track revenue per available room (RevPAR).
- Healthcare utilization patterns by property including which providers are serving the residents.
More data sets and metrics are in the works, such as operational benchmarking and transaction underwriting tools.
Discussion Provides Opportunity to Engage
The audience was then invited to share their thoughts. They offered input on what data tools would be helpful to inform their decision-making.
Anne Hampton, managing director at Wells Fargo, asked when the industry would have a standard chart of accounts to tally revenues and expenses. She said lenders receive profit and loss statements from operators that vary widely in how results are categorized. Other useful measures would be average occupancy by acuity, and a common definition of move-ins and move-outs.
Though the need for standardized accounts has been a discussion point for the industry since the early 2000s, the arrival of more robust data will move the process forward, the speakers agreed.
Hampton also suggested that a breakdown of rents by care level would be useful. Morton said work is under way to add new data elements while maintaining the historical legacy of the time series data. Mace added that a quarterly actual rates time series is available that includes both asking and effective rates.
Attendee Fara Gold McLaughlin, CEO at Seniors Housing Advisor, said detailed information on consumer psychographics would be helpful. Morton explained how data is now being used to identify subgroups of consumers. Mace added that NIC is sponsoring research with NORC at the University of Chicago to understand the frailty levels of residents.
Mace added that new research by NORC released at the Conference shows that seniors in assisted and independent living fared just well as in terms of excess deaths during COVID as seniors in the broader community. Seniors in continuing care communities actually fared better.
Cap rates were discussed. An audience member suggested providing data on cap rates based on market size and building class. “That’s a huge challenge,” said NIC’s Harry. Buyers, sellers, and brokers have been hesitant to share that information, though that’s gradually changing, he explained.
Mitch Brown at Senior Housing Consulting asked for information on the total assets of consumers, rather than only income.
Mace noted that NIC’s Forgotten Middle study did look at total financial resources as a measure, both assets and income. “We know this is a big issue,” said Mace.
Aggregate net worth data by market is readily available, said Morton. But he warned that collecting data on individual prospects via a credit check legally requires the individual’s permission.
Other suggestions included providing more detail on length-of-stay and rate information by building.
Mace noted that the first of its kind 2023 NIC Data & Analytics Conference will be held September 27-28 in Minneapolis. The event will focus on data-driven senior housing and care analyses. “It’s an opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and provide feedback,” she said. The conference will include NIC and NIC MAP Vision experts as well as representatives from other data-driven organizations. “Mark your calendar,” said Mace.
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support access and choice for America’s seniors by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers.
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