The rising rate environment has been brutal for REIT stocks with double-digit losses in 2022. In 2023, the sector saw decent gains in the first-half of the year, however these gains have been wiped out amid the breakout in longer-term yields.
However, this could be setting up a contrarian opportunity especially as the odds of a ‘soft landing’ continue to inch higher. Inflation is moderating, while the economy continues to modestly expand as evidenced by the September jobs report and upwards revisions to the July and August payroll data. In addition, Q2 GDP was better than expected, and consumer sentiment continues to move higher.
In essence, a soft landing scenario would be bullish for residential REITs. It implies no significant spike in defaults, while lower rates would also lead to a generous tailwind for the sector. In contrast, commercial REITs are facing more significant challenges and have more structural issues especially with offices and retail.
To be clear, the odds of a soft landing have increased, but it’s far from a certainty. Some threats to this outlook include a resurgence of inflation or the economy suddenly deteriorating due to pressure from higher rates.
Finsum: The odds of a soft landing have moved up higher after a recent spate of positive economic data. Here’s why residential REITs would outperform in such a scenario.