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 Q2 2021
- Funds from operations (FFO) rose 19.8% over the prior quarter, to $16.5 billion. FFO has fully recovered the declines from early in the pandemic, and is slightly above the peak level prior to the pandemic.
- Second quarter REIT earnings recovery was broad-based, with approximately two-thirds of all REITs reporting higher FFO than one year ago.
- Net operating income (NOI) totaled $25.6 billion, 7.5% higher than the prior quarter and 22.2% above one year earlier.
- Dividends paid by equity REITs totaled $11.2 billion, and dividends paid by mREITs totaled $1.6 billion. The $12.8 billion overall dividends paid was 1.7% below the prior quarter, but 4.3% above the second quarter of 2020.
- Occupancy rates were 92.5%, 180 basis points higher than the prior quarter. Occupancy rates in the industrial REIT sector increased 210 bps to a record high of 97.3%. Occupancy rates in the retail sector moved slightly higher, to 93.0%. Occupancy rates were little changed in the office and apartment REIT sectors.
- The ratio of debt to total book assets was 48.7%, compared to 51.4% 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 4.3x in 2021:Q1 to 5.9x in 2021:Q2. Coverage ratios remain well above the 2.6x average during the financial crisis in 2008.
- The weighted average term to maturity of REIT debt was 88.2 months (more than 7¼ years). This is up from 86.3 months in the third quarter, and is the longest average maturity of REIT debt on record.
- REITs retained ample sources of liquidity in the second quarter. Total cash and securities and undrawn lines of credit equaled 9.0x annual interest expense, up from 7.8x in 2021:Q1.
“REIT earnings have fully recovered the declines that occurred early in the pandemic, and FFO of the overall REIT sector stands slightly above the peak level prior to the pandemic,” said Calvin Schnure, Nareit senior economist. “REITs and commercial real estate are experiencing a more complete recovery as the economic reopening continues.”