A-REITS set for capital growth as sector outperforms equities
The Australian Real Estate Investment Trust (A-REIT) sector outperformed the broader equities market over the year to September 30.
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And they are forecast to continue to provide both distribution and capital growth. This is expected to be as a result of lower debt service costs, the opportunity to redevelop portfolio assets and the potential for a reduction in the currently high distribution yield premium to the risk-free rate.
A-REITs have been taking advantage of low interest rates by refinancing. While there is a cost associated with refinancing, the benefit to earnings of a lower ongoing interest rate is lower debt service costs. Among those A-REITs to have refinanced with lower debt costs are Centro Retail Australia and Goodman Group.
Tight vacancy rates across the office and retail sectors will encourage the redevelopment of assets held in portfolios. On completion of property redevelopment, the rental yield on costs is high relative to outright asset acquisition. The asset value will increase as a result of the redevelopment.
The 10-year government bond rate is the risk-free rate.
This premium compensates for the business risks associated with A-REITs.
This combination of lower debt funding costs, the potential redevelopment activity of properties already held in portfolios and the relatively high yield premium will provide the scope for A-REIT distribution and capital growth over the coming year.
Mark Wist is senior asset consultant at Atchison Consultants.
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