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The Pandemic Has Made Healthcare Real Estate More Desirable

“The pandemic increased demand and made healthcare a more desirable asset class,” Rahul Chhajed, VP and senior director of healthcare at Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, tells about how the asset class fared during the pandemic.

For one, medical properties moved onto the list of darling asset classes, and it isn’t hard to understand why.

“It is no longer just a recession that investors are worried about. If there is another pandemic, healthcare services are something that people are always going to need. At the end of the day, everyone needs medical care,” says Chhajed.

With the exception of a temporary pause in the market at the beginning of the pandemic, when elective surgeries and other healthcare services were paused to allow healthcare providers to focus on COVID-19, healthcare properties outperformed other asset classes. Chhajed notes that many tenants didn’t need rent relief and continued to pay rent.

This year, investors have been trading out of more challenged asset classes, like retail and office, in favor of medial facilities.

“COVID really provided a proof of concept for the industry to show that this product type is here to stay. It is not only institutional, but it is an asset class that private capital should look at as well,” says Michael Moreno, VP and senior director of healthcare at Matthews Real Estate Investment Services.

Institutional capital has been the dominant player in the healthcare sector, and that is because it can be a more complicated asset class. Now, both institutional capital and private investors are competing for deals.

“More institutions have definitely entered the ring, but we are also seeing the private markets have started to buy these deals,” says Moreno.

And, there is a third player: owner-occupiers. Existing owners are looking at the demand—which has driven cap rates down significantly—and deciding to sell.

“The sale-leaseback market is really picking up, and a lot of that has to do with pricing,” says Moreno.

Over the last few years there has been significant cap rate compression, and owners would rather take the proceeds and put it back into the business and grow.

“Private buyers love those deals because they typically contain long-term leases and they are triple net,”  Moreno says.

On the lease side, retail owners are finding new users in healthcare. Many clinics and ambulatory centers are signing leases in retail facilities as part of the trend from in-patient care to out-patient care.

“Retail-centric healthcare is great for providers because the care is coming to the consumer,” says Chhajed. “A lot of these healthcare systems are looking for ways to provide ease of access, and retail centers meet those needs to make healthcare more accessible. The confluence of these trends is creating a heyday for medical assets after the pandemic. Now healthcare is looking stronger than ever.”


Source: GlobeSt.

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The Pandemic’s Impact On Health Care Design: Smaller, Flexible Spaces With Great Adaptability

The pandemic rocked U.S. health care facilities in 2020, leaving them with falling revenue from moneymaking surgeries and ordinary care as physicians and nurses shifted their attention toward patients infected with the coronavirus.

But the real change will come three to four years from now, when the impact of new designs implemented on existing and new healthcare facilities are deployed based on what architects and physicians have learned over the past nine months.

“Health care clients are already shifting their focus and asking for smaller footprints and more space flexibility along with additional isolated, negative air pressure rooms,” said Architect and EYP principal Miranda Morgan, while speaking at Bisnow‘s ‘The Future of DFW Healthcare’ webinar. “The smaller footprints are just more efficient and lean. We are still providing everything that is needed, and we are still doing big huge patient towers. But instead of big luxury, patient rooms, clients are asking us to be closer to code and to get what you need in that space and provide the patient with a good experience, but don’t go overboard.”

A large focus of future design will be on keeping healthy and sick patients separate rather than feeding everyone through the same access points and maneuvering the same hallways. Luxurious common areas have lost some favor as health care systems shift toward making sure more rooms are available to isolate emergency care and hospital inpatients while also better managing various points of access to segregate healthy and sick populations on-site.

“We are examining the way patients flow through the facilities,” said Dwain Thiele, UT Southwestern Medical Centersenior associate dean. “Some of the most challenging are imaging facilities or places that previously did not have a large amount of space, hallways or waiting rooms. It is something we will be looking at in the future.”

“What we have seen through the pandemic from a needs standpoint is more access points for people to be seen and to have access whether through telehealth or smaller, faster clinics where people can get in and out,” Transwestern National Managing Director of Healthcare John Huff said. “I guess we realize we don’t all want to sit in a huge long waiting room for an hour.”

In the future, waiting rooms very well could be a thing of the past, with that square footage allocated to more isolated treatment rooms, health care experts said.

“Other trends here to stay include the ongoing push for more outpatient care centers and ambulatory facilities that can take care of non-life-threatening illnesses while hospitals are hit with pandemics,” Huff said.

“Technology also will play a significant role in reshaping the future of health care, with telemedicine, or remote health care visits, allowing hospitals to keep healthier patients away from pandemic-stricken areas,” Methodist Health System Chief Operating Officer Pamela Stoyanoffsaid. “I would say prior to COVID, we probably saw about 1% of visits in the outpatient setting with telehealth. In April and May, when we saw the first surge, we were probably up to 80% to 90% of our visits. When some of the restrictions lifted, telehealth usage dropped back down to 15%, but it’s expected to have a place in the future of health care services. It is now a massive part of what we do, and it is here to stay.”


Source: Bisnow

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