Nareit’s Total REIT Industry Tracker Series – the Nareit T-Tracker– is the first quarterly performance measure of the heartbeat of the U.S. listed REIT industry. The series includes three key REIT industry measures: the Nareit FFO Tracker, which monitors equity REIT Funds From Operations; the Nareit NOI Tracker, which reports the equity REIT industry’s Net Operating Income; and the Nareit Dividend Tracker, which monitors the dividends U.S. listed equity and mortgage REITs pay to their shareholders.
Key Takeaways for Q4 2020
- Funds from operations (FFO) continued to recover from the sharp declines during the shutdowns in the spring. FFO rose 11.3% from the third quarter, to $13.9 billion. FFO in the third quarter was also revised higher, to a 10.3% increase over the prior quarter.
- FFO in the fourth quarter was 16.0% lower than one year earlier. FFO has retraced half of the declines experienced in the first half of the year, however, even before rollout of the vaccines was fully underway.
- Net operating income (NOI) totaled $22.8 billion, 3.2% higher than the prior quarter and 8.1% below one year earlier.
- Dividends paid by equity REITs totaled $10.5 billion, and dividends paid by mREITs totaled $1.5 billion. The $12.1 billion overall dividends paid was 28.8% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
- Occupancy rates were 91.2%, up 80 basis points from the prior quarter. Occupancy rates declined 90 bps in the office sector, but rose in the retail, apartment, industrial, and most other sectors that report occupancy.
- The ratio of debt to total book assets was 49.4%, compared to 51.5% in the prior quarter. Leverage ratios are far below the 57.0% during the financial crisis of 2008, as REITs raised hundreds of billions of dollars of equity capital over the past decade.
- The weighted average interest coverage ratio increased from 3.6x in Q3 to 4.5x in Q4. Coverage ratios remain well above the 2.6x during the financial crisis in 2008.
- The weighted average term to maturity of REIT debt was 86 months (more than 7 years). This is up from 81 months in the third quarter, and is the longest average maturity of REIT debt on record.
- This edition of the Nareit T-Tracker introduces new data series on liquidity resources (cash and securities and undrawn lines of credit, expressed as a multiple of annual interest expense), the distribution of coverage ratios across the REIT industry, and REIT debt outstanding, with detail on mortgage debt and unsecured debt outstanding.
"A recovery of FFO is already underway from the sharp declines during the shutdowns last spring," said Calvin Schnure, Nareit senior economist. "Even before the vaccine rollout was fully underway, FFO across had already retraced half the drop that occurred in the first half of last year."