Cambridge Realty Capital Senior Vice President Brent Holman-Gomez and three other staff members recently had the privilege of attending the NIC Fall Conference in Washington, DC. Put on by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, the annual conference provides “unparalleled opportunities to meet and engage with decision-makers,” according to the NIC. With a strong focus on networking, the conference offers plenary sessions with keynote speakers representing various aspects of senior living, as well as numerous opportunities for breakouts, collaboration, and conversations between fellow attendees.

In addition to Holman-Gomez, Cambridge Realty Capital was represented at the conference by Vice President Zachary Scardina, Managing Director Tony Marino, and National Originations Manager Hymie Barber. Barber noted that attendance was robust, “It was tremendously gratifying to be reunited with so many friends and colleagues at the recent Fall NIC. The camaraderie and resilience of our industry were in full bloom in Washington DC.” Scardina echoed that sentiment. “It was great to be back at the Fall NIC Conference this year with clients, colleagues, and industry friends,” said Scardina. In all, more than 2,600 people attended and there was a palpable buzz in the air.

Asked about key takeaways from the conference, Holman-Gomez noted that “there was a sober view of occupancy growth, as it has improved more slowly than anticipated since 2021. Turnaround and value-add plans need to consider reasonable expectations for filling units.”  Growth in the number of units operated is focused on acquisitions; “even developers are discounting growth through construction.” He added that there was “an approximate 80% drop in discussions of any programmatic construction pipeline.”  Finally, a significant element of Cambridge conversations at the conference regarded landlords transitioning ownership to operators.

Scardina agreed: “There were many productive meetings with various groups, and I look forward to continuing our conversations and working on some of the opportunities that were discussed.” With much of the discourse focused on the challenges currently being faced by the senior housing industry, particularly a tight labor market, increased costs, and higher interest rates, Scardina felt that the participants were excited about the future and growth of the industry, especially as care needs increase for the Baby Boom generation. One major positive said Scardina, is that “many states have increased their Medicaid reimbursement rates and that increase has been incredibly helpful for the challenges that COVID has inflicted on skilled nursing operators.”

Barber summed it up by commenting: “Our days were filled with productive meetings with borrowers and lenders. We are confident that the old and new relationships we forged will yield positive results.”

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