News & Press Releases

Senior Housing Occupancy Remains Stable in First Quarter 2020

New data from NIC MAP® Data Service offer baseline of industry trends immediately prior to the coronavirus pandemic

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 9, 2020)—Senior housing occupancy decreased slightly to 87.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to new data from NIC MAP® Data Service (NIC MAP) part of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Though occupancy was relatively stable leading up to the coronavirus outbreak in March, the impact of COVID-19 is not yet evident in the data.


Additional data from the first quarter show San Jose (95.0%) and San Francisco (91.5%) with the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that comprise NIC MAP’s Primary Markets, while Houston (82.1%) and Atlanta (82.7%) recorded the lowest. Cleveland experienced the largest occupancy increase from a year ago, rising from 81.4 percent to 84.9 percent. Pittsburgh saw the largest year-over-year decrease, falling from 89.9 percent to 86.6 percent. NIC experts say these data represent an industry baseline just prior to the coronavirus pandemic.


Among specific senior housing types, the occupancy rate for independent living decreased in the first quarter to 89.9 percent, and assisted living occupancy decreased to 85.3 percent but remained above its recent record low of 85.1 percent one year earlier.


NIC MAP’s Primary Markets saw 17,062 new construction starts in the last four quarters, the fewest new starts since 2014. Experts say it may be a harbinger of what’s to come, during a period when social distancing and mandatory stay-at-home orders are preventing new construction in many areas.

“Data from the first quarter will be an important benchmark moving forward in these unprecedented times, with occupancy and construction starts challenged by circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” said Chuck Harry, NIC’s chief operating officer. “The industry’s first priority is to ensure that frontline caregivers are in the best possible position to address the health and safety of residents, as well as their own wellbeing and that of their families. NIC will continue to provide data on the senior housing and care sector to decisionmakers, so America better understands the implications of COVID-19 on senior housing and its residents.”

Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March, NIC’s weekly Executive Survey of industry leaders shows half to two-thirds of senior care organizations reported no change in March aggregate occupancy rates.

“The deceleration in assisted living property construction starts foreshadows a further slowdown in new senior housing development associated with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Beth Mace, NIC’s chief economist. “Many finance and capital providers are waiting for more clarity on how the pandemic will play out to understand what impact it will have on the broader economy.”

NIC’s COVID-19 resource center and a summary of first-quarter data on the senior housing and care sector are available at

A summary of the NIC MAP Data Market Fundamentals for 1Q20 is below. Additional details and a downloadable report can be found here.



[Note: For the latest NIC MAP data specific to your local metro market, please refer to the regional key metrics charts.]

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Contact: Rachel Griffith at 202-868-4824,

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1991 whose mission is to enable access and choice by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers in independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and post-acute care. Through its industry-leading annual conferences, NIC MAP® Data Service, research, analytics and sector outreach, NIC serves as an indispensable resource for the seniors housing and care sector. For more information, visit and follow NIC on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.


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