Economy

(New York)

How does a REIT with great long-term business fundamentals and eye-popping yields sound? If that sounds good, take a look at Ventas. The REIT owns 1,200 properties, many focused on senior and assisted-living facilities. The long-term business looks very healthy as demographics—including retiring Baby Boomers—are a major growth opportunity for the REIT. The dividend yield is a strong 5.7%, and it appears safe, according to Morningstar.


FINSUM: Definitely seems like a REIT worth some more investigation. We like the combination of good yield and strong long-term fundamentals.

(New York)

The US economy is on fire. Growth is strong, consumer confidence is high, and (somewhat worryingly) the Fed is almost giddy. However, even the greatest optimists will have a gnawing fear caused by the US housing market, which has been in decline for the past handful of months. The huge rising gap between home prices and wages has finally stalled the market, all while rates move higher and dampen demand. The big risk that no one is pointing out, though, is how that trouble in housing will flow through to the broader economy. It will likely not be via mass mortgage defaults and foreclosures like last time, but rather through a severe tightening of purse strings. The big rise in home prices means Americans disproportionately hold their wealth in home values, so a decline will cause a major loss of wealth, and thus spending, seizing up the economy.


FINSUM: In 1978 a 20% decline in home prices would have caused a 1% decline in aggregate income. Today, the same decline would cause a five percent drop, or about $600 bn of lost equity. Housing may still lead the economy downward.

(New York)

Investors need to be careful, real estate looks likely to take a pounding in the coming months. While all the focus on the big jump in yields has been on how it has impacted bonds and stocks, one of the big risk areas is real estate. Unlike other parts of the economy and markets, real estate has been teetering for some time, with months of weak performance. REITs and real estate stocks have been selling off strongly over the last couple of days and the reason is clear—the last thing the already weak housing market needs is higher borrowing costs.


FINSUM: We think the move higher in rates and yields could spell a significant downturn for real estate. Prices are so high and demand is already starting to dry up, so higher yields may have a further dampening effect.

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