The 2024 capital markets outlook is that much remains the same. Credit is scarce and the capital markets remain unpredictable. Whether the Fed will cut rates in four months, six months, or even nine months, many investors believe that defense is the best offense. The preceding ten years created a fascinating environment with cap rate compression to historic lows and a substantial amount of newly issued debt. Today, the industry is entering a period of transition where cap rates are starting to progress upward, and historic levels of debt are being repriced in a higher cost of capital environment.
The construction of senior housing communities has faced a myriad of challenges in recent years, evidenced by a marked decline in construction starts and extended construction durations. These challenges have been apparent since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been further compounded by labor shortages, a lack of building materials, and inflation. Additionally, the quick and large rise in interest rates orchestrated by the Federal Reserve has led to higher construction financing costs, limited availability of debt, and increased development costs. These combined factors have prolonged the time it takes to bring a senior housing project from the planning stages to the construction phase and eventually to its final delivery and eventual opening.
Data from the recently released 2Q 2023 NIC MAP Vision Actual Rates Report showed growth for asking rates was at near-record highs on a year-over-year basis for all three care segments (independent living, assisted living, and memory care) for the data contributors to this data collection. In the recently released report, monthly data of actual rates and leasing velocity are presented through June 2023, including data on rate discounting and move-in/move-out trends. Key takeaways from the report, specifically from the Segment Type report, are presented below. Care segments refer to the levels of care and services provided to a resident living in an assisted living, memory care or independent living unit.