The Sherman & Roylance Team Reflect on the Spring NIC Conference

The NIC Spring Conference in San Diego brought together senior housing operators, lenders, investors, and industry leaders to discuss the latest trends and opportunities in the sector. With an optimistic outlook for the near and long term, the conference highlighted several key themes that are shaping the senior housing landscape.  

Trends and Takeaways

The Sherman & Roylance team showed up at the conference in full force, networking and connecting with industry leaders, investors, operators, and providers. Before we hear what they had to say about the conference, Let’s take a look at the biggest moments and takeaways from the spring event:  
  • Where is construction going?
One of the notable trends discussed at the conference was the increasing selectivity of construction lenders. As you may recall, construction and senior housing development has been a hot topic over the last year. As the senior housing market continues to mature, lenders are raising their standards and lowering leverage, making it more challenging for developers to secure financing. This trend is driving the need for alternative financing structures, such as joint ventures and mezzanine financing, to fill the funding gap.
  • Senior living services expanding and evolving 
Another trend that emerged at the conference was the growing momentum in the behavioral health space. There is a growing demand for senior housing that can offer more services, including those that focus on mental, behavioral, and emotional health.  This trend presents an opportunity for operators to differentiate themselves and meet the evolving needs of residents.
  • New investment opportunities anticipated 
The conference also highlighted some of the trends impacting investment opportunities. Moving into 2023, investors are looking beyond major metropolitan areas and into smaller markets with less competition, such as Montana and the PNW. This trend could bring new opportunities for developers and operators to enter markets that have been underserved in the past.
  • Staffing remains a concern
Despite the positive outlook, staffing remains a major concern for senior housing operators. With low unemployment rates, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find and retain good employees. As a result, operators are seeking innovative incentives to attract and retain staff, such as offering tuition reimbursement or flexible work arrangements.

Hear From the S&R Team 

Here’s what our team had to say about the conference, what we learned, and what we’re looking forward to moving through the rest of the year:  
Shep Roylance, S&R Co-Founder: “The Spring Conference organized by NIC in San Diego provided an excellent platform for networking and forging valuable connections in the senior housing industry. As part of the Sherman & Roylance national senior housing team, we were able to interact with leading regional and national skilled nursing and senior housing owner/operators, healthcare REITs, and capital providers in a confidential manner. What's more, the spring conference had a smaller and more intimate setup allowing us to connect with top professionals in the industry in one of the many networking lounges.”
John Sherman, S&R Co-Founder: “The NIC is the premier networking event where seniors housing operators, owners, and capital providers come to get deals done and start conversations about the maturation of the space, industry trends , and the opportunities ahead.  Wonderful meetings with new contacts and very helpful to get insight globally about the market.”
Jeff Hauser: “My biggest takeaway from the well-attended NIC Spring Conference was that the interest in acquiring, leasing, and/or developing SNF and senior housing has not waned even with higher interest rates and other unfavorable trends going on in the market.  Everyone is more cautious with eyes wide open, but the interest is still very high. Also, it was so great to put faces with names and interact in person!"
George Bingham: “At the semi-annual NIC conference in San Diego, Sherman & Roylance team took note of two different kinds of trends: (i) what IS happening and (ii) what is NOT happening in the senior living sector broadly speaking. From a transactional perspective, we were pleased to see that acquisitions are still getting done at an active clip, given the somewhat hesitant commercial lending environment, it's fair to say that many industry players are sliding down the risk curve somewhat - perhaps reluctant to undertake complicated or long-cycle deals that may have challenging debt aspects to them.”