Office REITs: The New Normal
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
The future of work is here, and nearly everyone besides office landlords are quite content. For office REITs, the "new normal" of hybrid work environments brings both new challenges and opportunities.
Eighteen months after "two weeks to slow the spread," office utilization rates have recovered only a fraction of pre-COVID levels, particularly in dense coastal markets with longer and more transit-heavy commutes.
A "new normal" on several levels, office REITs - which historically traded at persistent premiums - have become relative "value plays" in the post-pandemic period, while dividend yields have swelled.
Trading at steep discounts to private-market-implied pricing based on recent comparable transactions, investors would benefit from a long-overdue wave of M&A to capture these value-creation opportunities.
While WFH headwinds will persist, the office REIT outlook has brightened in recent months - particularly for REITs focused on more business-friendly Sunbelt regions - following solid earnings results and favorable private-market pricing.
Disclosure: Hoya Capital Real Estate advises two Exchange-Traded Funds listed on the NYSE. In addition to any long positions listed below, Hoya Capital is long all components in the Hoya Capital Housing 100 Index and in the Hoya Capital High Dividend Yield Index. Index definitions and a complete list of holdings are available on our website.
Additional Disclosure: It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Index performance cited in this commentary does not reflect the performance of any fund or other account managed or serviced by Hoya Capital Real Estate. Data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy.