Health Care REIT Ventas Ahead of Interest Rate Curve, CEO Says

Debra Cafaro, chairman and CEO of Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2015: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Wynn Las Vegas.

The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) recognized Ventas in 2015 for the health care REIT’s sustainability program. Cafaro cited the firm’s corporate philanthropy and governance as standout features its sustainability platform.

In terms of the company's environmental efforts, she pointed out that Ventas is in the process of enhancing the lighting systems in its properties. Ventas is also focusing on LEED certification for its projects, according to Cafaro.

Regarding the state of the market for senior living facilities, Cafaro said Ventas continues to see growing demand for senior housing. “We have tremendous demographic tailwinds,” she said.

That demand has led to increased development in senior housing, Cafaro noted. Some markets are facing overdevelopment concerns, according to Cafaro. However, she said Ventas believes excess demand eventually will be absorbed by demand growth.

Cafaro also discussed the outlook for interest rates and how Ventas has planned for potential rate hikes. She noted that the lengthy speculation surrounding monetary policy spurred the company to get “ahead of the curve” in preparing its balance sheet for changes in the capital markets. Cafaro said the firm has taken advantage of low rates to extend and stagger its debt maturities.

“We’ve done a great job for many years in getting that liability side of the balance sheet where it needs to be,” Cafaro said.