Largest Senior Living Providers List Grows, No Surprises at the Top

There are no notable surprises at the top of Argentum’s 2019 list of the largest providers in senior living, although there are some new additions to the expanded list.

The industry association’s overall list now includes 140 providers and 624,795 units, compared to last year’s total of 125 providers and 586,662 units. For the first time, the list includes the top 25 nonprofit providers, as compiled in last year’s LeadingAge Ziegler 200 list.

Among the top 125, this year’s list marks reveals a 5.4% growth in number of units.

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“The growth of this list reflects the growth in this industry,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said.

No changes at the top

The top five providers remain unchanged from last year. Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) retained its status as the largest senior living operator by a wide margin, even as the company has been reshaping its portfolio through a series of dispositions and restructuring under CEO Cindy Baier’s leadership. The Brentwood, Tennessee-based operator owns 844 properties and 75,537 total units, the latter number representing a more than 15% decrease from 2018.

Brookdale’s total units are more than 41% greater than the second-largest provider, Winter Park, Florida-based Holiday Retirement, with 259 properties and 31,313 total units. Brookdale is also overwhelmingly the top assisted living provider, with 41,485 total units, and the top memory care provider, with 11,423 units. Holiday is the largest independent living provider with 30,897 units.

Senior housing providers, argentum Courtesy of Argentum
The top 10 providers on Argentum’s 2019 top providers list.

The top five is rounded out by Life Care Services, Sunrise Senior Living and Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE), with Sunrise and Five Star switching places from a year ago. Newton, Massachusetts-based Five Star spent the first half of 2019 restructuring leases and selling underperforming assets, and posted its first quarterly profit in six years in the second quarter of 2019.

The status of the “Big 3” REITs remained unchanged, as well. Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower (NYSE: WELL) retained the top spot with $17.5 billion invested in senior housing. Welltower is followed by Chicago-based Ventas (NYSE: VTR) with $16.6 billion in senior housing investments and Irvine, California-based HCP (NYSE: HCP) with $6.9 billion.

Newcomers and big movers

Argentum’s list also introduces several new providers for which data was not available for past lists.

Those additions include Ebenezer, the largest senior living operator in Minnesota with 93 communities and 7,581 total units. That is good enough to land the Minneapolis-based operator at 17th on the list.

Other new additions include Meridian Senior Living (No. 22); The Springs Living (No. 63); Midwest Health (No. 65); 12 Oaks Senior Living (No. 88); Sonata Senior Living (No. 119) and Liv Communities (No. 130).

Another newcomer, Inspirit Senior Living, landed at 121st on the list. The McLean, Virginia-based provider, founded four years ago by Sunrise veteran David McHarg, stands to move up in the rankings next year as it will increase its total unit count by 50% through acquisitions, Argentum reported in an article accompanying the list.

Legacy Retirement Communities saw the largest percentage growth among repeats from last year’s list. The Lincoln, Nebraska-based provider grew 234% and rocketed from 114th on 2018’s list to a firm position in the top 100 this year at 73rd.

Another provider, Vitality Living, saw one of the largest jumps among last year’s top 125. The Brentwood, Tennessee-based provider landed on last year’s list at No. 125 and jumped to No. 96 in 2019.

Other notable leapfrogs on this year’s list included Eclipse Senior Living (from 35th last year to 18th in 2019); Civitas Senior Living jumped from 35th to 28th; and New Perspective Senior Living grew 58% and jumped from 84th to 58th.

Eclipse, formed to take over the large portfolio previously operated by Elmcroft Senior Living, is pursuing a multi-brand portfolio as it expands. Civitas is targeting 20 new community openings within the next two years, while New Perspective aims to serve 10,000 seniors by 2025.

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