— San Diego County developers are leading a national trend to build housing for senior citizens who need some level of care.

The number of independent living and assisted living rooms under construction in San Diego County hasn’t been this high in a decade, according to a newly released report from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) — a nonprofit that tracks senior housing options.

NIC defines independent living centers as those that provide a minimum level of care, such as common dining programs, said Chuck Harry, chief of research and analytics.

Assisted living centers provide more extensive care for those who need help with daily living chores, such as bathing and dressing.

“We are in a period of somewhat elevated construction levels,” Harry said.

In the first quarter of 2018, 763 independent living and assisted living units were under construction in San Diego, compared with 314 a year ago, Harry said.

“San Diego hasn’t seen this level of new construction since the Great Recession,” Harry said. “This is the highest since the first quarter of ’08.”

Fueling the new construction is a rising demand, with occupancy of independent living units running at 93.1 percent and 91.7 percent for assisted living units in San Diego County, Harry said.

That compares to a national average of 90.3 percent occupancy for independent living units and 85.7 percent for assisted living.

That’s good news for those building and investing in senior housing in San Diego County.

“San Diego is definitely faring better than the national numbers,” Harry said.