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WASHINGTON, DC-Lenders may pour record amounts of money into the senior housing real estate market in 2001, a recent survey indicated. The survey, conducted by CBIZ Valuation Counselors and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Industries, had 115 respondents. Of that total, 108, or almost 94%, reported they are vigorously lending, with a projected $10.8 billion of financing expected in 2001. While projections are not actual totals of done deals, if they hold true, the amount would top the previous record investment activity of $9.4 billion established in 1998.

The survey indicated the number of lenders who reported that they are providing construction financing was down this year, but financing for other purposes — bridge financing, funding for acquisition of stabilized projects, mezzanine loans, refinancing of existing debt, and the provision of credit enhancements — all these areas have shown increased activity this year.

Lenders are serving the long-term care sector, providing financing for assisted living and Alzheimer’s/dementia facilities, and nursing homes. However, senior housing that is not driven by acute-care, like seniors apartments and continuing care retirement communities, are projected to account for more than 50% of the investment activity in 2001. In a statement, CBIZ vice president Wade Collins said, “The majority of survey respondents rated lower-acuity seniors housing investments equal or superior to traditional real estate, such as apartments, hotels, industrial, retail and office properties, in terms of risk versus reward.”

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