Fourth quarter occupancy may have been flat, but it is sure to decline in the early part of this year. We need to find new ways to deal with it.
What great timing, with NIC’s occupancy and construction numbers just released for the fourth quarter, given our webinar tomorrow.
Here’s the good news. Occupancy was stable in the fourth quarter, and new construction as a share of existing inventory, while still high at 6.0%, is 130 basis points off its recent high in the fourth quarter of 2017. And, at long last we seem to be reaching equilibrium between new supply and demand.
The bad news is that assisted living occupancy is still low at 85.4%, and while unchanged from the third quarter, was down 90 basis points from the fourth quarter in 2017. And now we are in the flu season, as mild as this one appears to be compared with last year. First quarter census almost always trends downward
But occupancy for the sake of occupancy is the wrong goal. You want profitable occupancy, not growth with giveaways, discounts and other gimmicks. And you definitely don’t want to pay those referral fees. Perhaps it is time we all take a new look at how to respond to what has been a years-long problem. The market has changed, and all need to change and adapt.