From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

Monday, Monday…

with one comment

Washington Prime Group (WPG) filed for Chapter 11 reorganization late last evening, saying that COVID-19, “created significant challenges.” The stock dropped 55% in early trading this morning (although had rebounded somewhat by mid-day), and is down almost 60% on the year.

This apparently came as a bit of a surprise to the market. While equity REITs in general had a down year in 2020 (-5.12%), retail REITS performed the worst of any sector, down 25.18% overall, with regional malls leading the way at negative 37.15%. However, as of the end of the 1st quarter (the most recent data available to us), retail REITs were back on track, having clawed back most of their 2020 losses. (Overall, US Equity REITS had a total return of 8.32% in the first quarter, 2021.) WPG had a lackluster year, and from Dec 31 to May 28 was down 56%. However, it was in a rebound mode in June, having tripled in price by the beginning of last week. No analysts were rating WPG as a “buy”, but two were rating it a “hold” as of two weeks ago. Intriguingly, since the first of the year, numerous class-action suits had been filed against WPG, alleging they concealed the true financial picture from shareholders. Notably, as of their annual report in March, they had disclosed some “potential deleveraging or restructuring transactions” with certain holders of senior notes.

WPG owns about 100 shopping malls throughout the US., but mostly east of the Mississippi. They invest in a variety of retail malls, including both open-air and enclosed malls. Major tenants include Signet Jewelers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Footlocker, Jared’s, Kay Jewelers, and ales Jewelers. As of their annual report, 59 stores comprising 4% of total rents were on their high credit watch list.

At Greenfield, in our in-house REIT fund “ACCRE”, we have purposely avoided long positions in retail since the beginning of the pandemic. For those of you tracking ACCRE, I might note that as of mid-day today. ACCRE was up 7.5% for the month, compared to less than 1% for the S&P 500.

As always, if you have any questions regarding real estate in general or your real estate investments, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

John A. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., MAI — JOHN@GREENFIELDADVISORS.COM

Written by johnkilpatrick

June 14, 2021 at 11:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] Of course, some funds are dug in too deep (see my recent commentary on Washington Prime Group, here) but we’ve been fully invested with ACCRE throughout the pandemic, and while this […]

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