Senior housing occupancy increased 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 88.0 percent, according to new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). San Jose (95.7%) and New York (91.3%) experienced the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that comprise NIC’s Primary Markets. Atlanta (82.7%) and Houston (82.5%) recorded the lowest. Las Vegas experienced the largest occupancy increase from a year ago, rising from 80.3 percent to 84.1 percent. Cincinnati saw the largest year-over-year decrease, falling from 89.7 percent to 86.4 percent.
In a breakout of senior housing types, assisted living occupancy increased to 85.7 percent in the fourth quarter, from a recent record low of 85.1 percent earlier in the year as demand outpaced new inventory growth. The occupancy rate for independent living decreased to 90.0 percent in the fourth quarter, below its recent peak of 90.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and down from 90.3 percent one year earlier.
“It appears that 2019 was an inflection year for assisted living with the occupancy rate at its highest level in two years after having reached its trough and new construction continuing to slow,” said Chuck Harry, head of research and analytics at NIC.