The credit crisis has made its mark on the seniors housing industry over the past 12 months, with lower transaction volumes and higher capitalization rates, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry. 

These factors contributed to lower values for assisted living units in 2008, according to Steve Monroe, editor of the Senior Care Acquisition Report.

“The tone of the market has certainly changed, and much of the capital that fueled the bull market from 2005 through 2007 has disappeared, at least for now,” Monroe said. “But it will return.”

Sunrise Retains Top Spot

This year’s ranking of the Top 40 Assisted Living Chains reveals that Sunrise Senior Living earned the
No. 1 spot for the sixth consecutive year.

The company, which is currently working on meeting its debt obligations, recently replaced its chief financial officer, and staff positions from offices in the United States and Germany were eliminated.
Yet, by the end of 2008, Sunrise had expanded its assisted living division and reported operating 391 facilities in 40 states, with a total assisted living resident occupancy capacity of 49,481—an increase of 13,341 above the 2007 level.

Seattle-based Emeritus earned the No. 2 position, the same position as last year. The company also reported an expanded capacity. At the end of 2008, Emeritus operated in 37 states, with 306 facilities and an occupancy capacity of 32,000. In 2007, Emeritus reported operating 287 facilities and an occupancy capacity of 29,522 assisted living residents.

No. 3 is Brookdale Senior Living, located in Brentwood, Tenn., operating with 409 facilities and a capacity of 21,021 in 34 states at the end of 2008. In the No. 4 position, Atria Senior Living operates in 27 states with a total occupant capacity of 14,400. Expanding its operations and jumping to the No. 5 position is Five Star Quality Care, which has 144 facilities, an occupant capacity of 9,682, and operating in 24 states. In last year’s Top 40, Five Star was in the No. 7 position with 112 facilities and an occupant capacity of 6,330.
In the No. 6 spot is Assisted Living Concepts, operating 216 facilities in 20 states and total occupant capacity of 9,154.

Merrill Gardens, headquartered in Seattle, is in the No. 7 spot, with 54 facilities operating in nine states and an occupant capacity of 7,070. Last year, Merrill Gardens reported operating 53 facilities and an occupant capacity of 6,770.

No. 8 is HCR ManorCare, with a total of 65 facilities with assisted living and an occupant capacity of 5,080. In the No. 9 spot is One Eighty-Leisure Care, which operates in seven states, with 29 facilities and an occupant capacity of 4,667.

In the No. 10 position is Benchmark Assisted Living, located in Wellesley, Mass., operating in six states with 44 facilities and a total occupant capacity of 3,992.

Services Expand

Assisted living providers also expanded their services last year, in nearly all categories. Twenty-nine companies include therapy services in their repertoire, compared to 21 companies last year. Hospice care has also become more popular, with 24 companies—eight more than last year—offering the service to residents.

More modest growth was seen for other services, such as pharmacy and outpatient therapy, which are now offered by 14 and 20 companies, respectively.

Thirty-two of the Top 40 companies offer independent living units, as opposed to 29 companies last year.

Download the Top 40 list here.