REITs Flock to Senior Housing in 2011, Record Setting Attendance at NIC Conference

While the markets in Europe might be on the brink of collapse, across the pond, senior housing is seeing investment continue to grow, primarily from Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Data released last week at the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) annual event in Washington, DC, shows that $16.8 billion worth of transactions took place during the first half of 2011. Of the deals, REITs have been the dominant buyers, snapping up 93% of the nursing homes, 78% of assisted living properties, and 88% of the independent living properties.

These deals, along with the eventual needs of the 78 million baby boomers in the United States for some type of care, brought 1,800 attendees to the conference.  But even with a record number of attendees, leaders at NIC are still cautious not to get ahead of themselves.


“We’re excited [about the opportunity for seniors housing] but there is a lot of anxiety about the global economy and what the future holds,” said Bob Kramer, president of NIC, during a press briefing. “In terms of our sector, it’s very need driven demand and the demographic drives the senior housing fundamentals.”

The industry remains in its infancy, but NIC is well aware it needs to plan now in order to meet future demand and is looking to groom the best and brightest through its Future Leaders Council.

“[There is] a critical need for this sector to attract talent to the industry,” said Kramer.


Campuses such as Washington State University recently added a Senior Living Management class to its undergraduate curriculum, taught by executives and other professionals from four top senior housing companies that are headquartered locally in Seattle.

NIC is also reaching out to business schools like Wharton to develop programs tailored to the industry, to ensure those coming out of school are attracted to the industry and the growth opportunities it provides.

Even with the new initiatives, NIC’s focus remains on data and making sure investors have the detailed information they require to make investments. In its 21st year, NIC’s overall mission remains dedicated bringing more capital and efficiency to the sector. “To bring that about there must be transparency,” said Kramer.

Looking at the number of investors in attendance last week, it looks like NIC has succeeded.

Written by John Yedinak