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By: Zacks Equity Research
October 22, 2009
Amid positive signals emanating from the uptick in housing prices and an improving outlook for consumer spending, the housing sector is gradually stabilizing. Both new and existing home sales have increased during the last four consecutive months and are now 32% and 17% above their recent lows, respectively. Single-family housing starts have also risen 37% from their low point, and inventories of homes-for-sale have fallen sharply.
Equity REITs rebounded nicely in the third quarter, recording total returns of 33% (total return FTSE NAREIT Index) vs. a 15% gain each for the S&P and the Dow. The strong third quarter returns marked the second consecutive record-setting performance of equity REITs after a dismal performance in the first quarter of 2009.
In what has been a volatile year, equity REITs gained approximately 29% (total return FTSE NAREIT Index) in the second quarter after falling 32% in the first quarter. So far in October, equity REITs are down about 1%; the worst performing sectors in October have been Self Storage (- 3.4%), Retail (-1.6%), Industrial/Office (-1.6%), and Residential (-0.8%).
OPPORTUNITIES Many REITs are still trading at discounts to NAV (net asset value), traditionally a good "buy" signal. Over the past seven or so years, REITs have traded near or in excess of NAV.
With dividend cuts and share price gains.....
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