September 22, 2020, Steve Monroe, The SeniorCare Investor - The views on where we are in this pandemic are bifurcating, just like in the acquisition market, but we are also dealing with the “stupidity” factor. Just like in the acquisition market, where values and cap rates have been bifurcating between the top “A” properties and the rest of the market, so are opinions as to the current state of the market and what we can expect next year and beyond.
There are those who believe operating costs are getting back to normal, the lending market has strengthened with pent up demand to provide financing, and that values are firming, helped by historically low interest rates.
Then there are those who see a long slog through this pandemic mess, labor and its cost still a problem despite the new unemployment rate, census still struggling, and a permanent hit to operating margins because of the safety requirements, which are not going away. Unfortunately, most people are in this boat.
And then you have the “stupidity” factor, such as a bill in the New Jersey Senate that would require the state to implement an “Isolation Prevention Project” for all assisted living communities, nursing homes and other residential care facilities.
This would require them to have the technology and staff in place to prevent residents from becoming socially isolated when there are public emergencies. The problem is that the isolation, in many cases, has been the result of state mandates. Providers can’t win these days.
I am sure there will be more stupidity bills proposed as a result of COVID, and hopefully not passed, but unfortunately, the herd mentality is upon us. This may be the lasting effect of COVID on all of us. Things will get better in the near term, but a return to normal is still a while off.