NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care


By: Beth Mace  |  September 16, 2020

Seniors Housing Total Investment Returns Decline in Second Quarter 2020

Market Trends  |  Senior Housing

Like many property types, seniors housing investment returns fell in the second quarter of 2020 as the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the utter collapse of the economy took their toll. The total investment return for the seniors housing sector was a negative 1.00% in the second quarter of 2020, the first negative return since 2Q 2012.

The income return remained positive but was the smallest increase on record as far back as 2003. The appreciation return fell 2.04%, the third consecutive quarterly decline, making the valuation return a negative 2.43% since 4Q 2019. Many investors reduced their appreciation expectations in the first half of the year as the impact of the coronavirus weighed heavily on their view of the sector.

Comparatively, the total negative return of 1.00% was on par with the NPI which fell by -0.99%, but was slightly worse than the apartment sector performance, which dropped by -0.63%. Hotels plunged by a whopping 16.59%, retail by 3.85% and office by 0.50%. The only sector that did not see declines was industrial, but even there, the appreciation return was negative, albeit slightly (- 0.07%). It is notable that, like other property types, transaction volumes were very limited in the second quarter, making price discovery challenging.

The annual total return through the second quarter of 2020 was 3.52%, outpacing the NCREIF Property Index (NPI) result of 2.69% and the apartment result of 2.98%. On a ten-year basis, total returns are higher at 11.79% for seniors housing—more than 2 percentage points higher than the NPI or apartment returns. The total annual return for seniors housing has been trending down since mid-2014 when it peaked at 20.37%. This pattern can also be seen in the broader NPI index and is due to the appreciation return which tends to slow at this point in the real estate cycle.

These performance measurements reflect the returns of 123 seniors housing properties, valued at $6.3 billion in the second quarter.

NCREIF chart 091620

See my full Quarterly Highlight in the recent National Council of Real Estate Fiduciaries (NCREIF) Real Estate Performance Report.

About Beth Mace

Beth Burnham Mace is the Chief Economist and Director of Outreach at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Prior to joining the staff at NIC, she served as a member of the NIC Board of Directors for 7 years and chaired NIC’s Research Committee. Ms. Mace was also a Director at AEW Capital Management and worked in the AEW Research Group for 17 years. While at AEW, Ms. Mace provided primary research support to the organization’s core and value-added investment strategies and provided research-related underwriting in acquisition activity and asset and portfolio management decisions. Prior to joining AEW in 1997, Ms. Mace spent ten years at Standard & Poor’s DRI/McGraw-Hill as the Director of the Regional Information Service with responsibility for developing forecasts of economic, demographic, and industry indicators for 314 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Prior to working at DRI, she spent three years as a Regional Economist at the Crocker Bank in San Francisco. Ms. Mace has also worked at the National Commission on Air Quality, the Brookings Institution and Boston Edison. Ms. Mace is a member of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE), ULI’s Senior Housing Council, the Urban Land Institute and New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE/CREW). In 2014, she was appointed a fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute and was awarded the title of a “Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Forum Magazine and Globe Street. Ms. Mace is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A.) and the University of California (M.S.). She has also earned The Certified Business Economist™ (CBE), which is the certification in business economics and data analytics developed by NABE. The CBE documents a professional’s accomplishment, experience, abilities, and demonstrates mastery of the body of knowledge critical in the field of economics and data analytics.

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