On September 30, 2016, the debt-to-total market capitalization of the Equity REIT market (debt divided by the sum of debt and equity) was 31.9 percent, the lowest since the end of 1997. The debt-to-total book-assets ratio of the market was 49.0 percent, down from a post-crisis peak of 57.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, and the lowest level on record since 2000.
The overall reduction in debt is largely the result of Equity REITs taking advantage of robust capital markets to issue approximately $280 billion in equity capital since 2010, representing 60.0 percent of the total industry capital raised during the period.
In addition to reducing leverage, REITs have extended their debt maturities. As of the third quarter 2016, the weighted average maturity of all Equity REIT debt was 70 months, or nearly six years, up from 60 months at the end of 2009.