Reflecting on a Busy Year as Nareit's Chair

REIT magazine: September/October 2018

As part of Nareit’s leadership since 2012, I have grown to appreciate and respect the work the organization does on our industry’s behalf day-in and day-out. Nareit’s mission is to actively advocate for REIT-based real estate investment with policymakers and the global investment community.

My time as Nareit’s chair has only solidified my belief in that mission and the long-term durability of the REIT approach to real estate investment.

In particular, a few notable developments stood out from the past year. My term began in conjunction with the rollout of Nareit’s new visual identity and message presentation. Centered around the tagline “Real estate working for you,” the messaging clearly articulates the value proposition REITs bring to investors, the economy, and the communities in which we operate.

On the legislative front, all eyes were on Washington as deliberations took place over comprehensive tax reform. A number of provisions in the law underline policymakers’ recognition of the vital role REITs and real estate play in the national economy. As legislators interpret and implement the changes to the tax code, Nareit will serve as the voice of its members to ensure that provisions that impact REIT-based real estate investment work well and as intended.

There has also been a focus on the impact of rising interest rates on REIT share prices. Earlier this year, upward moves in interest rates and uncertainty about future rate hikes depressed REIT share prices more than the broader equity market.

Recent rate activity, however, reflects at least in part economic growth that is helping drive earnings growth for REITs. In addition, REITs have strengthened their balance sheets to help them continue delivering solid earnings despite rising interest rates. Notably, the REIT industry is less leveraged than at any point in the past 20 years. These are facts that Nareit continues to ensure get heard by the investment community and the media.

Finally, I am proud of Nareit’s commitment to the recruitment, inclusion, and advancement of women in REITs and the broader commercial real estate industry through its Dividends Through Diversity Initiative. The program was launched in 2017 and expands in September with Nareit’s first Dividends Through Diversity Forum.

It has been an honor to serve as Nareit chair and work closely with CEO Steve Wechsler, his team, and Nareit’s leadership to help shape and strengthen the REIT industry. This past year has reaffirmed that REITs are real estate working for you and will continue to be an essential building block of the economy.

Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, 
President and CEO, 
Park Hotels & Resorts
2018 Nareit Chair

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