Debra A. Cafaro
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Ventas
Thank you, Sarah, and I want to welcome all of our shareholders and other participants to the Ventas fourth quarter and year end 2021 earnings call. 2021 was a year that was bracketed by two very positive developments. At the beginning of the year, we rolled out life-saving vaccines in our senior housing communities, to keep residents and caregivers safe from COVID-19. And as we close out 2021 and begin a new year, we look forward to posting growth in the first quarter and sustained improvement in our senior housing business through 2022.
In between those book ends, our Ventas team found a way to drive our business forward in a highly dynamic environment. While prioritizing health and safety, we took proactive steps to capture upside in the senior housing recovery, delivered strong organic growth in our office and triple-net healthcare businesses and stayed financially strong. We also extended our long track record of value-creating external growth with $3.7 billion in new investments focused on our strategic priorities of senior housing and life science.
As we enter 2022, we are reporting a fourth quarter that exceeded our expectations on the strength of senior housing and office performance. Carrying that momentum forward, we expect total portfolio NOI growth, once again led by our senior housing and office businesses with additional contributions from investment activity and deeply appreciated grants from HHS for our assisted living communities in the first quarter.
We're pleased that we can benefit from both organic and external growth in the first quarter, consistent with our long-standing value proposition for shareholders. Let me put our investment activity in a broader context and discuss some of the highlights. Since 2010, we've averaged over $3 billion per year in average investment activity across asset classes, executed in a variety of transaction types, large and small.
2021 provided excellent examples of our approach and execution. Consistent with our current capital allocation priorities at this point in the cycle, our 2021 investment activity was allocated 70% to senior housing in attractive markets with significant growth potential, 20% to our high value life sciences business including the ground-up development of a new research facility anchored by University of California, Davis and 10% to expanding our successful medical office building franchise.
Within the senior housing capital allocation sleeve, we completed both the new senior investment, acquiring over 100 independent living communities in advantaged submarkets at attractive pricing below replacement costs. And we also closed a Canadian senior living deal with a handful of well-performing assets with additional lease-up upside. The Ventas investment team is using its decades of industry experience strong and varied relationships and deal structuring ability to address an extremely robust pipeline as we enter 2022.
We continue to identify areas of competitive advantage and pick our spots consistent with our strategic priorities and our analytic assessment of risk reward. We started the year off well, closing over $300 million of investments in the medical office and senior housing areas both with good in-place returns and both generated by ongoing relationships.
With significant opportunities in our sites, we are also confident in the array of funding sources available to us as we demonstrated by recycling over $1 billion of capital in 2021, split between $850 million of divestitures of non-core senior housing and MOB assets at attractive valuations and over $350 million of full repayment of well-structured loans that yielded unlevered IRRs exceeding 11%.
In addition to capital recycling, these transactions improve the quality of our portfolio and the sustainability of our go-forward cash flows, which also supports our well-covered dividend. We also grew our Ventas Investment Management business during the year and successfully accessed multiple capital markets opportunistically. VIM is a huge success story and now has over $4.5 billion in assets under management with leading global institutional investors. Our perpetual fund alone raised nearly $0.75 billion in untapped commitments this year. These embedded capital relationships provide another powerful tool to fund growth and build a valuable business at the same time.
Turning to our values that dovetail with shareholder priorities, I'd like to highlight our enduring commitment achievement and recognition in the area of environmental, social and governance or ESG. Our ESG leadership continued during 2021 as we substantially elevated our ESG profile.
Among other things, Ventas made meaningful investments in energy-saving technologies at our properties. We were named to CDP's A List, the top 2% of global companies for tackling climate change and also named Nareit's Healthcare Leader in the Light for the fifth consecutive year. We have also ramped up our actions to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in our Company, our industry and our country. We've taken definitive steps in recruiting, investment and community engagement and adopt the goals to drive ourselves even harder in the coming years.
Finally, our commitment to outstanding governance continues with rigorous and regular board refreshment, adding directors who are independent and diverse and who bring a record of accomplishment and subject matter expertise to our Company, such as recently added directors, Maurice Smith and Marguerite Nader.
In closing, I'd like to give a huge shout out to my Ventas colleagues whose talent, resilience, agility and commitment to doing their best over these past two years has been inspiring and to our operating partners who have navigated the pandemic on the front lines with courage, caring and commitment.
We also deeply value and appreciate our lenders and equity investors who support and encourage us. We are committed to using all the tools at our disposal, including our high-quality, diverse portfolio, experienced team and platform to excel for their benefit. Justin?