The pandemic disruption in all its forms continues to test and challenge the senior housing sector. But the level of agility, preparedness and responsiveness among senior housing operators has never been higher and remains a tailwind for senior housing demand, as measured by the change in occupied stock. In this analysis, we examine the drop and subsequent recovery in the level of occupied units by majority property type since the pandemic began to influence the senior housing sector, over the period from 1Q 2020 to 4Q 2021, and across the 31 NIC MAP Primary Markets and the 68 NIC MAP Secondary Markets Aggregates.
Despite the headwinds created by the Omicron surge and the consequential staffing crisis, senior housing stabilized occupancy for the NIC MAP® Primary Markets held its ground in February 2022. This was also the case in September 2021 when occupancy withstood the Delta surge and was unchanged from August 2021.
As the pandemic eases and occupancy recovery in senior housing progresses, rising operating expenses may limit the degree to which operating margins will grow in the next six months. In the Wave 38 survey, three-quarters of respondents expect margins to increase; the majority anticipate the increase will be between 1% and 5%. Nearly three-quarters of respondents are optimistic that labor and staffing challenges will begin to ease in the second half of 2022 or 2023. Currently, all respondents are paying staff overtime hours and four out of five rely on agency or temp staff to fill in the gaps. About one-half do not expect their reliance on agency or temp staff to change in 2022; however, 40% anticipate it will decrease.
“The Omicron variant has challenged the skilled nursing recovery given the staffing shortages around the country as skilled nursing properties are unable to hire enough staff to admit more residents.” - Bill Kauffman NIC MAP® data, powered by NIC MAP Vision, released its latest Skilled Nursing Monthly Report on March 3, 2022. The report includes key monthly data points from January 2012 through December 2021.