The latest occupancy numbers from NIC are in and hit another low that the industry will be spending months and probably years to rebound from. Perhaps most notably, in the three months ending in August, the assisted living market fell below an average of 80% occupancy for the first time ever, to 79.5%. That is a 60-basis point drop from July’s trailing-three month level, which may have shocked us in the past, but after the nearly 170-basis point fall from June, it could be worse.
To be fair, that is just across the 31 Primary Markets that NIC tracks for its quarterly results, but with COVID-19 affecting most localities nationwide and its economic ramifications even more widespread, we don’t imagine the full national average decline in August is far off.
However, for the first time since March 2020, the census decline was worse in the independent living market, by 80 basis points to 85.6%. That brings the sector down by about 350 basis points from its pre-COVID levels. We are sure other IL communities have been hit harder than that, and we have also heard of some with no COVID cases and persistent full occupancy. But for the majority of communities, the return to a normal level of tours and move-ins is still far in the future.