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REITS help support nearly 1,000,000 jobs in the U.S. each year.

Ventas Focused on Demographics, Dividends

11/15/2012 | By Matthew Bechard

Debra Cafaro, chairman, president and CEO of Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

Ventas Inc. is a health care REIT that has more than 1,400 properties in 46 states, the District of Columbia and 2 Canadian provinces. They include assets in senior housing, medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. The company's $26 billion dollar senior housing and health care portfolio is primarily private pay focused.

"We like to think of it as a flexible business model. We are focused on health care and senior housing, but we can also invest at different times and at different cycles across multiple assets types within health care," Cafaro said.

Ventas and other health care REITs have been especially active in terms of strategic acquisitions within the past couple of years. Cafaro sees that as a trend that will continue.

"We've acquired $13 billion of assets since the beginning of 2011 and $1.7 billion so far this year, and all of those investments have made money for shareholders," she said. "Demographics drive our business, investments drive our business and we definitely see health care as one of the most dynamic and biggest fragmented sectors. That creates a great landscape for additional external growth."

Cafaro offered her thoughts on what she views will be the dominant trend in the health care industry in 2013. In addition to dividends, she pointed to demographics. The 85-and-older segment of the U.S. population is the fast growing and will be a focus for Ventas, she said.

"That's the cohort that uses skilled nursing and our senior housing communities from coast to coast," Cafaro said. "And, of course, there are the baby boomers. There we see our medical building and outpatient setting really serving that population."