NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care


By: Omar Zahraoui  |  May 11, 2023

Senior Housing Sector Shows Improvement with Rising Occupancy Rates

NIC MAP Data  |  NIC MAP Vision  |  Senior Housing  |  occupancy

According to intra-quarterly NIC MAP® data, released by NIC MAP Vision, the senior housing all-occupancy rate for the NIC MAP Primary Markets increased to 83.5% in the April 2023 reporting period, up 0.3 percentage points (pps) from the March 2023 reporting period on three-month rolling basis. From its time series low of 77.8% in June 2021, occupancy increased by 5.7pps, as evident in the exhibit below, with 20 of the 22 reporting periods showing positive gains (from June 2021 to April 2023).  

Strong demand suggests a positive outlook for senior housing. According to NIC’s Executive Survey Insights (ESI) for the month of April 2023, this positive trend is supported, with one-half of responding operators (52%) reporting an acceleration in the pace of move-ins, the highest share of operators reporting an acceleration since April 2022 when 54% of organizations reported the pace of move-ins to be accelerating. 


Occupancy Recovery by Majority Property Type. At 85.3%, the all-occupancy rate for majority independent living (IL) properties for the NIC MAP Primary Markets edged up 0.1pps from the March 2023 reporting period on a three-month rolling basis but remained 4.4pps below the March 2020 level. For majority assisted living properties (AL), the all-occupancy rate for the NIC MAP Primary Markets was up 0.5pps to 81.7% from March 2023 and is now 2.8pps below March 2020 levels. Despite the faster improvement in assisted living, the overall occupancy rate is still lower than that of independent living. 

From its pandemic related low (June 2021), the all-occupancy for majority assisted living increased by 7.8pps, 4.2pps more than for majority independent living (up 3.6pps since June 2021). Occupancy for assisted living continued to recover relatively fast compared with independent living despite the relatively large inventory growth since the onset of the pandemic. However, in the past 12 months, assisted living inventory was less than that of independent living. The inventory of independent living and assisted living for the NIC MAP Primary Markets increased by 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively, from year-earlier levels in the April 2023 reporting period.  

Occupancy Recovery Across Select Metropolitan Markets. In 11 of the 31 NIC MAP Primary Markets, assisted living occupancy rates have either returned to pre-pandemic March 2020 levels or exceeded them, with some markets being within less than 1pps from returning to their March 2020 levels. Notable examples include Dallas, where occupancy stands at 83.1%, surpassing the March 2020 level by 2.9pps, and Kansas City, with occupancy at 85.4%, exceeding the March 2020 level by 1.9pps. Other markets such as Phoenix, Orlando, Denver, Detroit, Tampa, Cleveland, Atlanta, San Antonio, and Portland have also demonstrated notable recovery in assisted living occupancy rates. Additionally, 20 of the 31 Primary Markets saw assisted living occupancy rates above 80% in April 2023. 

For independent living, out of the 31 NIC MAP Primary Markets, only four have returned/exceeded March 2020 occupancy levels, or are within less than 1pps of reaching that benchmark. Some of these markets include San Antonio (87.0%, 1.8pps above March 2020 level), and Pittsburgh (89.7%, 0.6pps above March 2020 level). While the majority of the 31 NIC Primary Markets still have independent living occupancy rates differing by more than 1pps, it is important to note that all markets currently maintain occupancy rates above 80% (ranging from Houston at 80.1% to Boston 93.4%). This highlights the overall resilience and strength of independent living, even amidst varying levels of recovery.  

Keep track of the most timely comprehensive review of the sector’s market fundamentals and trends. The NIC Intra-Quarterly Snapshot monthly publication, available for complimentary download on our website, continues to provide a powerful and closely watched means to stay ahead of industry trends, even as senior housing markets sustain a fast pace of evolution and adaptation, amidst an apparent recovery.   

The May 2023 Intra-Quarterly Snapshot report will be released on our website on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 4:30pm.  

Interested in learning more about NIC MAP Intra-Quarterly data? To learn more about NIC MAP Vision data, schedule a meeting with a product expert today. 

About Omar Zahraoui

Omar Zahraoui, Principal at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), is a seniors housing research professional with expertise in providing quantitative analysis and insights on seniors housing & care market data; building new products and reporting capabilities, including dashboards and proformas for clients and internal stakeholders; and implementing new processes and data solutions. Prior to his current role, Zahraoui worked as a data analyst, at Calpine Corporation, supporting the development of new-business strategy initiatives, analyzing sales and financial data, and developing statistical modeling of consumers’ behaviors to drive business performance. Zahraoui holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Management, a Master in Corporate Finance from IAE Lyon School of Management at Jean Moulin Lyon III University in France, and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems and Data Analytics from Pace University.

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