Several companies have released occupancy updates for the month of August, and there were some mixed results. However, for the most part, these top players reported large basis-point gains over several months, and even between July and August. This consistency among businesses bodes well for a return to normalcy in the skilled nursing and seniors housing industries.

After announcing their agreement to provide Recovery Centers of America with a $325 million mortgage loan this week, Sabra Health Care REIT, Inc. reported occupancy gains across several of their portfolios. Among their top eight skilled nursing operators, they have seen a 554-basis point increase between late December 2020 to August 2021, while noting a drop of 47 basis points from July to August. However, Sabra’s skilled mix census in its skilled nursing/transitional care portfolio had a 178 basis point increase between pre-pandemic February 2020 and August 2021. 

Sabra’s managed and leased seniors housing portfolio’s average occupancy realized even greater gains. Ending August 2021, Sabra’s leased seniors housing portfolio has jumped 716 basis points since February 2021 and 212 points since July 2021. That is impressive. Across their managed seniors housing portfolio, there has been an overall increase of 413 basis points between March and August 2021. The assisted living portfolio improved 633 basis points between March and August 2021 and 208 points from mid-July, while the independent living portfolio increased 376 basis points between May and the end of August 2021 and 349 points from mid-July to the end of August.

National Health Investors, Inc. (NYSE: NHI) also provided a business update this month, releasing its average occupancy from three of its largest seniors housing operators – Senior Living Communities (SLC), Bickford Senior Living and Holiday Retirement. 

Across SLC’s nine-property portfolio, there has been a 50-basis point increase between July and August 2021 and a 310-point increase since January 2021. Bickford’s 42-property portfolio saw just an 80-point improvement between July and August of this year, but a 470-point improvement since January 2021. And finally, Holiday’s 18 properties (once 26 before NHI announced the sale of eight) saw just a 40-basis point occupancy increase between July and August 2021, and a 20-point increase since January of this year. 

Lastly, Five Star Senior Living Inc. announced a 320-basis point increase between month-end July and August 2021 across its owned communities, and an 80-point increase between July and August’s average occupancy. Diversified Healthcare Trust’s 120 properties operated by Five Star saw a 100-basis point increase between month-end July and August 2021 and a 50-point average occupancy increase across those same months.

All in all, these are robust recovery rates. With this good news, overall high vaccine rates across the acuity spectrum and communities now armed with a battle-tested playbook to combat the Delta variant, we are hoping to see more of this occupancy recovery through the end of 2021.