REITs Retreat Amid Reopening Resistance
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
U.S. equity markets reversed last week's gains after Congressional leaders and Federal officials pushed back on plans to end government-mandated lockdowns despite an unprecedented surge in joblessness.
Jobless Claims data this week showed that one-fifth of the American workforce is now unemployed, at least temporarily, while Retail Sales data showed a historic plunge as the "retail-casualties" mount.
The momentum faded this week for real estate equities after two weeks of solid gains amid a generally stronger-than-expected earnings season in which most REITs reported strong rent collection metrics.
Nearly a third of the equity REIT sector and the vast majority of mortgage REITs have suspended or reduced their dividend since the start of the pandemic as some small-cap retail and hotel REITs are in a fight for survival.
There were glimmers of strength amid an otherwise bleak slate of economic data. Redfin noted that home-buying demand has "come roaring back" and is now 5.5% higher than it was pre-pandemic.