Editor’s Note: Welcome to the November Edition of The REIT Sheet. This month’s top fresh money buys are Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP) for conservative investors, and National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) for the more aggressive. I’ve also restored Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE: HASI) to a buy at 35 or less. Medical Properties Trust (NYSE: MPW) remains a hold. Thanks for reading!–RC
A month ago, the S&P 500 Real Estate Sector Index was underwater by -31.4 percent year- to-date, including dividends paid. Seven of my Recommended list REITs traded below Dream Buy prices: Alexandria REIT (NYSE: ARE), Artis REIT (TSX: AX-U, OTC: ARESF), Canadian Apartment (TSX: CAR-U, OTC: CDPYF), Equity Lifestyle Properties (NYSE: ELS), RioCan REIT (TSX: REI-U, OTC: RIOCF) and SmartCentres (TSX: SRU-U, OTC: CWYUF).
What a difference a month can make! Only Artis still sells for less than its Dream Buy price, mainly because the Canadian dollar has remained weak. And most of our favored REITs have rallied hard, several including Alexandria REIT, Prologis Inc (NYSE: PLD) and Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) quite robustly.
The S&P REIT sector index is still well underwater for the year, as are many of our holdings. But for the past month at least, REITs have actually outperformed a somewhat resurgent S&P 500.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell commented yesterday that he didn’t want to crash the economy through rate hikes. That was enough to set off a sharp rally in the stock market including REITs, as investors took it to mean the central bank would begin tapering off on increases possibly as soon as December.
But the main reason for REITs’ strength over the past month has been on the ground level. Mainly, solid Q3 operating results combined with steady guidance for the rest of the year and beyond have calmed investor fears that the sector could be headed for another 2020 magnitude collapse.
With the Fed driving up interest rates at a breakneck pace to combat a 40-year high in inflation, its no wonder recession risk has been on investors’ minds this year. And memories of the sector crash of 2020 are still quite fresh.
Pandemic pain was felt unevenly across the REIT universe. Industrial REITs actually benefitted from an explosion of e-commerce. But shut down shopping malls triggered a swell of unpaid rents and tenant bankruptcies. Hotel REITs saw traffic evaporate in a matter of weeks. And even historically resilient residential and storage REITs were hit by a flood of vacancies and unpaid rents, coupled with government moratoriums on evictions.
The result was a REIT meltdown that hit nearly every sector and took until mid-2021 to fully recover from. And it included a wave of deep dividend cuts and several bankruptcies.
Count me skeptical that the Fed has tamed inflation, yesterday’s big stock market rally notwithstanding…
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the October Edition of The REIT Sheet. This month’s top picks are W.P. Carey Inc (NYSE: WPC) for conservative investors, and Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc (NSDQ: GLPI) for the more aggressive. I’m rating Hannon Armstrong (NYSE: HASI) and Medical Properties Trust (NYSE: MPW) “holds” ahead of their Q3 results and guidance updates.
Please join us for the Capitalist Times monthly webchat Thursday, October 27 starting at 2 pm. It’s your opportunity to ask about anything to do with REITs, including what I haven’t covered here. My partner at CT Elliott Gue and I will also be presenting at the Orlando MoneyShow on Monday, October 31. I hope to see you at these special events. –RC
Real estate investment trusts took another hit last month, largely following the downdraft in overall stock and bond markets. As of the October 19 close, the S&P 500 Real Estate Sector Index is underwater by -31.4 percent year to date, including dividends paid.
If that number holds or worsens over the next 10 weeks or so, it would be the worst annual performance by property stocks since 2008. And while there are half a dozen names in our REIT Sheet coverage universe still in the black, more than twice as many are sitting on year-to-date losses of close to 50 percent.
The bad news is there’s a high probability REIT share prices will sink further this year. And for a good many, the slide may continue well into 2023.
Count me a skeptic of any economic model that forecasts a “100 percent” probability of anything. But Bloomberg Intelligence’s recently issued recession prediction isn’t without reason.
Since the start of Q3, for example, there have been some pretty clear signs that activity is slowing across our coverage universe of 85 leading REITs. So far, they’re mostly showing up in sharply curtailed capital raising activity, with implications for slower growth next year.
In late September, data center REIT leader Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR) issued $550 million of bonds maturing January 15, 2028 with a coupon interest rate of 5.55 percent. Since then, their price has slipped to a discount to par value, with a yield to maturity of 6.1 percent.
A couple weeks later, office property REIT Highwoods Properties (NYSE: HIW) inked a two-year unsecured bank loan at a yield to maturity of about 5 percent—with the potential for up to a percentage point reduction in the rate if certain “sustainability” criteria are met.