The senior housing occupancy rate increased 1 percent, from 81.2 percent in the second quarter of 2022 to 82.2 percent in the third quarter of 2022, according to data from NIC MAP Vision. Occupancy is up 4.3 percentage points as of the third quarter from a pandemic low of 77.9 percent in the second quarter of 2021.
The senior housing occupancy rate increase is due to a surge in demand that strongly outpaced growth in inventory. The total number of occupied senior housing units within the 31 NIC MAP primary markets also is just 2,400 units shy of its pre-pandemic all-time high level.
Demand has rebounded more strongly for assisted living than independent living, with another quarter of robust gains pushing the number of occupied assisted living units to their highest level ever in the third quarter across the primary markets. As new inventory has been added during the pandemic, the overall assisted living occupancy rate has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels.
The boost in the overall senior housing occupancy rate was aided by slow inventory growth paired with robust demand. On the inventory side, just 2,300 units were added within the primary markets during this quarter, which is the weakest inventory growth since the third quarter of 2013 other than in the first quarter of 2022. Construction starts also continue to be slow given pressures affecting lenders.
Occupancy improved across all property types. Assisted living had the largest quarterly gain. More specifically:
- Assisted living occupancy increased 1.1 percent to 79.7 percent, up 5.6 percent from its pandemic low of 74.1 percent in the second quarter of 2021 but still below its pre-pandemic level of 84.6 percent.
- Independent living occupancy increased 0.9 percent to 84.7 percent, up 3 percent from its pandemic low of 81.7 percent in the second quarter of 2021 and still below its pre-pandemic level of 89.6 percent.
- Nursing care occupancy increased 0.8 percent to 79.3 percent, up from its pandemic low of 74 percent in the first quarter of 2021 but still below its pre-pandemic level of 86.6 percent.