By Debbie le Quesne

Snapshot of the care market – it’s not all bad

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I’m not too sure how good an economic barometer business sales are within the care sector. The bubble effect of past housing market booms doesn’t translate that well to our industry, but property assets, their worth and how care businesses function within them are certainly with analysis.

Don’t fall asleep!

The Edward Symmons and Storeys Edward Symmons (ES Group), is a leading firm of property and asset consultants and part of their portfolio is in the care sector.

Their autumn report offers a snapshot of the market trends, but the market advice is simple: “People still need to tread with care.”

Investment areas include a wise mix of what they define as “specialist care” and supported living, as interest in this arena “remains good.”

On occupancy the widely represented UK firm found the summer in many areas seeing levels slipping back with a “slow housing market” delaying private placements in many cases.

ES adds that proactive marketing and the need to distinguish one’s service from rivals was “more important than ever.”

On the issues of fees, the analysis suggests national increases were “hard to spot on the ground.” Too true! And critically, business margins are continuing to shrink – earnings before tax and depreciation etc, averaging 20 – 25 per cent.

And guess what . . . the north-south divide is marked out once again. “Lots going on, especially in the south,” the report says. Demand for homes in administration – struggling or closing is “surprisingly good” but prices were “below cost.”

And finally . . . specialist care: “The impact for many is slower placements and to a lesser extent lower fees,” the reports says, but since April “some sales” have shown “quite good prices.”

Welcome to the week. Not all bad news, but whether you believe all of this data is I’m sure an argument open to debate.

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