08/27/2012 | by
Nareit Staff

NAREIT at the GOP and Democratic National Conventions
U.S. REITs Continue Capital Push
Get Smart
REITs in the Community
Federal REIT Tax Compendium Available Online
Register Today for REITWorld 2012

August 27, 2012

Message from the President

Congress is out of session this month, but as the story in this issue of NewsBrief reports, our Policy & Politics staff continues to work with NAREIT members during the recess to take the REIT story to members of Congress at home in their own districts and states.

NAREIT's grassroots outreach program is designed to build bridges between national policymakers and REITs in their communities with the aim of better informing elected representatives about the benefits REITs provide in terms of job creation and economic growth. Through the grassroots program, senators and representatives get an up-close look at the operations of their REIT constituents through events such as tours of REIT-owned properties, participation in ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new facilities, and briefing sessions with REIT management teams. So far this year, NAREIT has arranged 32 such meetings for REITs and their elected representatives.

Importantly, the grassroots outreach program has given NAREIT members a forum to directly explain to their representatives the significance of specific issues, such as the need for tax parity for online and traditional retailers, and the economic implications of these issues for their communities. The result has been a better understanding of REITs and the publicly traded real estate industry on Capitol Hill.

We intend to expand and build on the success of our grassroots outreach program. If your company has a project or upcoming event that you think your representatives on Capitol Hill should be aware of, we encourage you to let us know about it.

Steven A. Wechsler
President and CEO


NAREIT at the GOP and Democratic National Conventions

NAREIT will have a presence at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year.

For the real estate industry, a centerpiece of the conventions will be two real estate policy forums sponsored by NAREIT, The Real Estate Roundtable and other industry groups. One forum will be held at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, and a second will be held at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5.

Each one-hour forum will include panel discussions featuring members of Congress, representatives from think tanks and real estate industry leaders. They will be followed by audience question-and-answer periods. The panelists will explore a range of subjects, from the role of real estate in job creation to the importance of reducing barriers to international real estate investment to support the industry's growth.

NAREIT encourages any of its members who will be in Tampa or Charlotte to attend these discussions. If you are unable to attend in person but would like to listen in to the discussion, the events will be webcast and also available for replay at a later time.

For more information, or to RSVP, visit the event webpages:

Additionally, NAREIT may be able to help secure tickets to other events that may be of interest to members, and we'd be happy to find a time to get together while we are there.

If you have any questions, please contact either Robert Dibblee at rdibblee@nareit.com or Kirk Freeman at kfreeman@nareit.com.

(Contact: Kirk Freeman at kfreeman@nareit.com)


U.S. REITs Continue Capital Push

Robust funding activity in 2012 has put U.S. equity REITs in a good position to meet their liquidity needs in the coming years, according to a report from ratings agency Fitch Ratings.

Equity REITs in the United States enjoyed strong access to capital during the first half of 2012.

Approximately $43 billion in funding has been raised across the capital structure, including $13 billion in common stock, $7 billion in preferred stock, $13 billion in unsecured bonds and $9.2 billion in unsecured term loans.

"Declining interest rates and declining spreads have all made the cost of financing attractive for issuers. It's driven by investors' thirst for yield," said Steven Marks, managing director with Fitch ratings, in an interview with REIT.com.

He added that REITs are taking advantage of tighter spreads and historically low yields to lock in long-term financing and pay down borrowing on revolving credit facilities.

"Typically, they are using the capital to fund development pipelines, pay down lines of credit, fund acquisitions and, to a lesser extent, fund expiring debt maturities," Marks said.

Brad Case, senior vice president for research and industry information with NAREIT, said he expects REITs' acquisition activity will accelerate thanks to their efforts in the capital markets.

"Acquisitions will be strong now through 2017, because non-REITs borrowed too much during 2006 and 2007," he said.

While the retail sector has been the most active in fundraising so far this year, having raised $8.5 billion in fresh capital, the least active has been the industrial sector, which raised $1.7 billion. The health care sector has raised $8.2 billion, the office sector has raised $7.1 billion and multifamily REITs have raised $4.6 billion.

Case said REITs' improved operating performance has made it easier for them to make payments on debt. He said he expects the robust fundraising activity to continue in the second half of the year for REITs.

"They've managed their balance sheets and brought down their leverage, so that gives them access to debt," he said.

Marks said he also expects fundraising activity to continue in the second half, but the pace is likely to slow.

"We expect it to be a little more muted, but to the extent that companies have active development pipelines, they will need to fund those activities through long-term bond issuance," he said.

(Contact: Brad Case at bcase@nareit.com)

Get Smart

As many of you may already know, NAREIT distribiutes a daily electronic news summary called Real Estate Investment SmartBrief. It's free to sign up. Real Estate Investment SmartBrief is a comprehensive summary of the latest news affecting the real estate investment industry.

Topics covered include:

  • Capital Markets and Real Estate Market Place
  • Investment News
  • Policy watch
If you don't receive it already, we'd like to invite you to sign up today. And please feel free to share Real Estate Investment SmartBrief with your colleagues.

(Contact: Matt Bechard at mbechard@nareit.com)


REITs in the Community

Aug. 22, 2012: Rep. Francisco Canseco (R-TX), middle, visited GGP's (NYSE: GGP) The Shops at La Cantera, located in San Antonio. During his visit, Canseco received an update on the mall's activities as well as GGP's operations in Texas and across the country. He also learned about several legislative issues being pursued during the 112th Congress, including the Marketplace Fairness Act to achieve greater tax fairness from internet commerce, and the introduction of the U.S. REIT Act to make minor modifications in the REIT rules. Pictured with Canseco (right to left): Scott Sutherland, GGP vice president, asset management; Kevin Berry, GGP vice president, investor relations; Michelle Robertson, senior marketing manager, The Shops at La Cantera; and John Badagliacco, senior general manager, The Shops at La Cantera.

(Contact: Kate Smith at ksmith@nareit.com)

Federal REIT Tax Compendium Available Online

NAREIT would like to remind its members that the Federal REIT Tax Compendium is now completely available online.

The online Compendium includes the NAREIT summaries of all IRS and Treasury rulings, regulations and pronouncements affecting the REIT industry, from 1997 to the present, as well as links to the official IRS or Treasury documents when available.

The online Compendium is fully searchable. The information contained in the online Compendium is also updated regularly, so you can access the most current information available quickly and easily, whenever you need it.

(Contact: Tony Edwards at tedwards@nareit.com)

Register Today for REITWorld 2012

REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT, scheduled for Nov. 13-15 in San Diego, provides a unique opportunity where REIT and real estate executives, experienced and sophisticated investors, industry leaders, and academic experts come together in one setting to share their specialized knowledge and experience.

General sessions provide an opportunity to hear economic insights and perspectives from leading authorities, while the popular sector spotlights give attendees the opportunity to delve deeper into specific industry segments with the senior management of REITs.

The featured speaker on Thursday morning will be Mark Shields, a nationally known columnist and commentator. Since 1988, Shields has provided weekly political analysis and commentary on national campaigns for the award-winning PBS NewsHour, where he has matched wits with David Gergen, The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot and most recently with David Brooks of The New York Times. For 17 years, Shields was moderator and panelist on CNN's Capital Gang. He now is a regular panelist on Inside Washington, the weekly public affairs show, which is seen on both ABC and PBS. The Washington Post has called Shields "a walking almanac of American politics."

Visit the REITWorld Event page to register and to get all the details regarding the event as they become available.

(Contact: Katelyn Rowland at krowland@nareit.com)