Ventas executives are “encouraged by what we’re seeing early in this recovery,” Executive Vice President of Senior Housing Justin Hutchens said yesterday at the Capital Markets Global Health Care Conference.
Senior housing occupancy rates are improving, he said.
“I would expect occupancy to recover first, and that’s going to vary by market. We already have 16% of our communities that have achieved their pre-pandemic occupancy levels,” Hutchens said. “I would expect those communities to start pushing on pricing a little bit.”
“We believe we’ve turned the corner in our business. The pandemic is finally behind us after what seems like a very long time, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Probst said during the live webcast. He cited “dramatic improvement” in health and safety throughout the company’s senior living portfolio as positive COVID-19 cases have decreased in recent months.
“In fact, move-ins were ahead of pre-pandemic levels. …We’re actually starting to see the rebound we’ve been hoping for,” Probst said. “March and April saw the first of two consecutive months where move-ins exceeded move-outs.”
Hutchens said that leads over the past few months have come from referral agencies and company internet sites. Respite care and professional medical referrals have been down, with those leads at approximately 50% of pre-pandemic numbers.
Probst said that in the short-term, he expects Ventas to grow mostly through acquisitions rather than ground-up development.