Thursday, 02 November 2023 08:18

Pros and Cons of REITs in a High-Rate Environment

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High rates have severely impacted the real estate market. In terms of commercial real estate (CRE), higher rates mean that financing costs have risen, but more pain will come when they have to roll over debt in the coming years, assuming that rates remain elevated. 


According to Rich Hill, the Head of Real Estate Strategy & Research at Cohen and Steers, Head of Real Estate Strategy & Research, REITs are in a much better position to handle these stresses than the larger CRE market. 


Many REITs have delivered their balance sheets with 86% of debt fixed for around 6 years which means there is much less exposure to interest rates than other CRE operators and investors. Additionally on the aggregate, REITs have a loan to value of 35% which is quite conservative relative to historical standards. 


So far, high rates have had a muted impact on earnings, about 1.4%, making it more of a mild headwind. Thus, valuations for REITs have become quite attractive, while they remain on strong footing fundamentally, especially in relation to the broader CRE market. As a result, Hill notes that valuations for REITs have stabilized, while private valuations continue to move lower. 

Finsum: High rates are leading to significant amounts of stress for parts of the commercial real estate market; however REITs have been less affected so far. 


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