Dwindling Opportunities in Office REITs

  1. The majority of the REIT stock appreciation took place in the months of June and July.
  2. This then affected the office REITs, which saw an appreciation of 16% where 10% took place during those two months.
  3. Many office stocks, such as First Potomac and City Office have been clearly undervalued.
  4. First Potomac and City Office are small caps that have to prove that can deliver good results.

chart01It is fair to say, that the share price appreciation of most REITs is a very recent occurrence. This follows the macroeconomic scenario that was laid out by the Fed in May. Many investors have started to chase REITs, which has created a spurring of rapid stock appreciation across all REIT sectors. What we’ve seen in both June and July is an 11% rally in share prices, while the year to date return is 19%.

Office REITs, which up till now have been neglected by brighter sectors, like date centers, have felt the same effect. These Office REITs rose up to 16% this year, and 10% of that took place between June and July. This has resulted in opportunities in this sector to be harder to find.

There are very few REITs that have been clearly undervalued. First Potomac, which is focused on the Washington DC market, and City Office, which is concentrated on growth cities, have both lagged behind its peers in terms of the returns and have demonstrated lower multiples. While Office REITs trade an average of 25 times AFFO, these REITs are only traded around 15 times.

chart02The warning is that both small cap REITs should have to prove what they came for. First Potomac experienced a recent change in leadership and at the same time, their portfolio has been going through a radical makeover. City Office, on the other hand, has been a public company since 2014 and internalized its management last February.

To summarize, over the last couple months, there has been a dramatic dwindling in every sector. This decrease in number of undervalued stocks has even affected, what has come to be known as ‘neglected’ REIT sectors, such as the office sector.

Source: First Potomac Realty Trust(NYSE:FPO), City Office Reit, Inc.(NYSE:CIO), Fast Graphs

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Disclosure: The author is long FCH, XHR, CLDT, PEB.