Justin Hutchens, president and CEO of National Health Investors (NHI), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWise 2014: NAREIT’s Law, Accounting and Finance Conference held in Boca Raton, Fla.
Hutchens discussed the benefits of National Health Investors’ expressed goal of staying small in size.
“The market that we’re focused on is senior housing, primarily,” he said. “We’re focused on regional operators that have been part of a marketplace that has grown dramatically over the past five years. We have peers that have grown very dramatically. What we’re trying to do is convey a message to the operators that when you’re dealing with NHI, you’re dealing with a company that is not focused on becoming big. We’re focused on creating a valuable experience for our customer and also creating value for our shareholders. We have no ego about being big. We just want to do smart investments that make sense for all parties involved and ultimately create value at the end of the day.”
Hutchens was asked about areas of the health care market that provide the greatest opportunities as well as those that may pose more risk.
“There has certainly been a lot of movement in private-pay senior housing,” he said. “It has been a very stable asset class, and, therefore, it has attracted a lot of competition. The opportunity that we’re most excited about is private-pay assisted living and assisted living campuses, but everyone else is most excited about that as well.”
Hutchens said the company continues to find opportunities for investment with existing customers.
“We have a core group of customers that we’ll grow with and, of course, we’re always entertaining new relationships as well,” he said.
Hutchens reflected on how his experience as a health care provider has influenced his approach to the health care real estate business.
“I’m very interested in the practice of caring for people and have made a career of that,” he said. “I’ve advanced my career into regional and national positions. The background has actually translated pretty well to being successful because I’ve been in the shoes of our customers. I know exactly what we’re buying because I’ve been on the operating side of the business.”