NIC Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor Robert Kramer has identified “Six Key Drivers” that will shape the senior living industry over the next 10 years. Kramer is also Founder & Fellow at Nexus Insights, a think tank to advance the well-being of older adults through innovative models of housing, community and healthcare. NIC Notes will publish a bi-weekly series detailing each key driver. What follows is an introduction to the series. What will the senior housing and care environment look like in 2032? It’s a question that has broad implications for the decisions we make today.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 372,000 in June 2022 and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%. The June increase was in line with the average monthly gain over the prior three months (383,000). Revisions subtracted 72,000 to total payrolls in the previous two months. The market consensus had been for a gain of 268,000.
With the highly contagious omicron variant seemingly behind us and senior housing occupancy recovery continuing for the third consecutive quarter through Q1 2022, there is waning optimism regarding operating margins. In the Wave 42 survey, almost 60% of survey respondents expect margins to increase in the next six months, although this is down from 75% of respondents in the Wave 38 survey. Rising operating expenses limit the degree to which operating margins will grow in the next six months. Staffing challenges remain top of mind. Only 20% of respondents indicate that staffing challenges will improve in the next year, while 20% indicate it will take until 2024 to see improvement, and 30% signal staffing issues will not improve until 2025 or later. The most effective method cited for attracting new community staff is increasing wages (65%), followed by flexible schedules (15%), and hiring bonuses (5%). Staffing and a slowdown in lead conversions are affecting the pace of move-ins, which slowed for memory care and nursing care properties, but remained consistent for assisted living and independent living properties.
NCREIF Performance Report Q1 2022 The total investment return for the senior housing sector was a positive 1.08% in the first quarter of 2022. This marked the seventh consecutive quarterly gain after one quarter of pandemic-related negative returns in the second quarter of 2020 (negative 1.00%). Short-term total returns for senior housing remain low compared with the broader NPI, which saw total returns of 5.33% in the first quarter. Appreciation returns for the NPI dwarf those of senior housing, as the NPI was boosted in part by outsized returns in industrial properties (10.96%). Many investors have reduced their appreciation expectations for seniors housing as the impact of the coronavirus has weighed heavily on their view of the sector.