How are Healthcare REITS/funds/properties doing?

I will be the first to admit I know next to nothing about healthcare properties, but what is the current and future state of the asset class? Would they be benefiting from the current crisis?

I want to learn more about healthcare assets and funds as those interest me the most for some reason. Are there any HC vets in here that want to chime in? Whether it be current pipeline, pricing on these assets, etc as I really am just trying to learn more, especially during this time

Comments (2)

Most Helpful
Mar 25, 2020

I can chime in on senior housing properties (Independent Living, Assisted Living, etc.). Operationally, there is definitely going to be some turbulence in the near-term (even if the community doesn't have an outbreak) as (i) operators are severely restricting access to their communities given the resident population consists of high-risk individuals, which hinders marketing efforts and will impact their ability to maintain occupancy as they experience normal resident turnover and (ii) communities are experiencing higher expense loads as they need higher amounts of normal supplies/protective equipment to keep residents/staff safe and they also need to get creative finding ways to maintain necessary staff (e.g. some operators are giving staff members who have school-age kids at home a daily childcare stipend so they can still work, which can be a huge expense given the demographics of caregivers). On the transaction/market side, from what I'm hearing most deals that aren't already under contract are hitting pause. Pricing is going to take a hit in the near-term, both because of the operational turbulence I laid out above so higher perceived risk as well as the state of the credit market. Commercial lenders are tightening their underwriting standards, and some are not pricing new deals at all until there's more visibility.

All this being said, once we start to come out the other side of this I think these properties are going to benefit in a number of areas. First, I think demand for senior living is going to get pent up during this pandemic, not subside. Adult children planning to move their parent into a community might not be doing so right now because of the restrictions, but they still will once things return to normal. I also think this might push someone who is on the fence into moving themselves or their parent into a community, as despite what certain headlines might portray to get views, COVID has largely highlighted that very few places are better equipped to handle something like this than senior living communities. Overall point being, once we are passed this I think demand is poised to surge. On the expense side senior living has been dealing with a labor problem for several years. With unemployment at all time lows, it's been extremely difficult for these buildings to recruit and retain staff members without resorting to paying a few bucks more than other industries (hospitality, retail, food service, etc.) for lower wage positions because of what can come with the job (think things like cleaning up shit). With the crisis impacting employment in those industries, senior living might benefit from a larger, less competitive labor pool, which would really help cash flow as staffing makes up more than half of total expenses. Good hospitality employees in particular translate well to senior living, and the smart operators are already trying to dive into this opportunity. Lastly, and this has been discussed in some other threads, the potential for construction costs to tick down would be key. Due to things like the large amount of common space (dining room, activities space, commercial kitchen, etc.), senior living communities are really expensive to build on a per unit basis so tailwinds on that front are enormous. There will definitely be a blip in development as projects are halted or delayed due to COVID, but I think any smart developers will be primed to take advantage of any reduction in construction costs on the other side.

TLDR Version: Senior living (both operations side and transactions/capital markets side) is experiencing and will continue to experience some turbulence as the pandemic continues, but there are definitely some potential opportunities for the industry on the other side of this.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 25, 2020