REIT Fundamentals are “Sound” Heading into Second Half, Portfolio Manager Says

Steven Brown, global head and senior portfolio manager, real estate, at American Century Investment Management, discussed broad trends impacting the REIT market during a podcast interview at REITweek: 2019 Investor Conference.

REITs have had a “nice bounce” in 2019, partly because of how inexpensive they were at the end of 2018 but also because of the change in Federal Reserve language toward interest rates, according to Brown. “We think that real estate fundamentals are sound, but if we do get a period of easing, that will support real estate even more,” he said.

Brown added that REITs are continuing to show low correlation with the broader market. He is forecasting funds from operation (FFO) per share growth of 4% this year, about in line with 2018 levels.

“We’re really focusing on what REITs and property types are seeing strong fundamental demand,” Brown said, with tower, data center, industrial, and certain types of rental housing REITs all benefiting from strong demand drivers.

Meanwhile, Brown said the REIT market has been “fairly efficient” so far this year, particularly in the retail and office sectors, where it has factored in a range of investor concerns.

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