Money and Me: S-REITs’ 2023 outlook

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3 January 2023

Money and Me: S-REITs’ 2023 outlook

Which SREITs stand to become beneficiaries of investors seeking resilient yield and growth opportunities in a high interest rate environment? And with China taking a major step towards reopening its borders, is it finally time to stock up on companies with high exposure to the Chinese market?

Start your year right with Michelle Martin as she speaks to Kenny Loh, REIT Specialist and Independent Financial Advisor about his thoughts on the performance of SREITs in 2023 and some sectors to avoid during this period of volatility.

 

 
 

Timestamps

0:17 Intro

1:45 JP Morgan’s cautious outlook for Singapore REITs, expecting declines in DPU and economic slowdown weighing on share price performance. What are your thoughts? Do you agree?

  • Yes, I agree. But not all REITs will be affected to the same extent. It depends on individual REIT’s performance and their management.
  • However, a severe recession and/or high Fed Fund Rates may affect REIT’s performance more negatively

3:52 Which REIT sectors do you think offer resilience?

  • Industrial Sector. WALE is comparatively higher and has delivered consistent DPU for the past few quarters. Also is much harder for Industrial Sector tenants to ‘move out’
  • Most vulnerable: I think the US Commercial Office Sector. For Example, Manulife US REIT announced a ~10% drop in portfolio valuation.
    • WFH trend still exists, therefore still low occupancy. Valuers are using a higher discount rate due to the higher Fed Fund Rate.

6:01 Many expect Fed Fund Rates to go over 5%. Which REITs could be attractive for investors looking for ‘safe harbours’?

  • I think 2 Sectors: Hospitality and Retail, due to the China reopening barring any new COVID variants. Chinese travelers embarking on ‘revenge spending and revenge traveling’.

7:10 Do you think Rate Hikes will influence share price movement of S-REITs, and if so, how much?

  • S-REITs have already been priced in a Terminal Rate of about 5%. 
  • But not a recession. We do not know if we will enter a severe recession, and will REITs’ bottom lines be affected.

6:41 Do you think S-REITs factored in additional rate hikes in their share price valuation?

  • Yes, looks like it has factored in a Fed Fund 5% rate. The recent lowering of government bond yields has increased yield spread.

8:26 Raising GST to 8% and then 9%: How do you think this will affect S-REIT investors?

  • I don’t think there’ll be any impact. 
  • GST hike only affects local consumption in Singapore. Many REITs have overseas presence; these REITs shouldn’t see any impact.
  • Also, many travelers (e.g. Chinese tourists embarking on revenge traveling) won’t bother about this 1% GST hike.
  • For the tenant side, 1% won’t move tenants away. Too much of a hassle 

10:21 China’s reopening: China was Singapore’s largest source of inbound tourism. Is it time to look at S-REITs with China exposure?

  • We should be selective and careful.
  • Generally, Singapore REITs with China Exposure have poor balance sheets. 
  • Also potentially increased difficulty faced by S-REITs in refinancing due to debt crises in China. E.g., EC World REIT in 2022

12:10 EC World REIT has announced divesting of 2 assets in October 2022. With China reversing its COVID policies, what does this mean for EC World?

  • The challenge for EC World REIT is debt management.
  • 100% of its debt is secured, also they have a very short debt maturity period.
  • Unlikely to divest at a good price. But they have no choice

14:45 SPH REIT has been renamed to Paragon REIT. What does this mean for Paragon REIT?

  • Paragon sounds more ‘atas’, SPH feels older in my opinion.
  • 3 Possibilities, how I look at it:
    • 1. Acquisitions should continue, for example Seletar Mall in the pipeline. However, it is not easy in this current high interest rate environment.
    • 2. Mapletree has a stake in Cascaden Peak (Sponsor of Paragon REIT). MPACT also has a very similar investment mandate of Asia-Pacific Retail/Office properties; I can see a potential merger on the horizon.
    • 3. Acquired by Link REIT? Link REIT are expanding into Singapore.

18:21 Outlook on S-REITs in 2023?

  • Many opportunities in the S-REIT space! Most REITs are undervalued right now (according to Price/NAV value)
  • Rising interest rates will dampen portfolio valuations

Note: The above analysis are my own personal views and are NOT buy or sell recommendations. Investors who would like to leverage my extensive research and years of Singapore REIT investing experience can approach me separately for a REIT Portfolio Consultation.

 

Listen to his previous market outlook interviews here:

2022

2021

2020

Kenny Loh is an Associate Wealth Advisory Director and REITs Specialist of Singapore’s top Independent Financial Advisor. He helps clients construct diversified portfolios consisting of different asset classes from REITs, Equities, Bonds, ETFs, Unit Trusts, Private Equity, Alternative Investments, Digital Assets and Fixed Maturity Funds to achieve an optimal risk adjusted return. Kenny is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, SGX Academy REIT Trainer, Certified IBF Trainer of Associate REIT Investment Advisor (ARIA) and also invited speaker of REITs Symposium and Invest Fair.  

You can join my Telegram channel #REITirement – SREIT Singapore REIT Market Update and Retirement related news. https://t.me/REITirement

Continue ReadingMoney and Me: S-REITs’ 2023 outlook

Money and Me: Is 2023 the year of recovery for S-REITs?

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13 December 2022

Money and Me: Is 2023 the year of recovery for S-REITs?

As we wrap up 2022, who are the S-REITs winners and losers coming out of this year’s market turbulence? Find out the answers with Dan Koh and Zia-ul Raushan as they invite Kenny Loh, REIT Specialist and Independent Financial Advisor to share how he thinks S-REITs have performed so far. 

They also discuss the opportunities and risks that 2023 presents for this industry and the sectors that stand to benefit the most from China’s reopening of its economy. 

 

 
 

Timestamps

0:17 Intro

1:25 Wrap up of the S-REIT performance in 2022 and Kenny’s thoughts of the market now

  • REITs still fared better than other asset classes, at -10%, compared to for example the S&P 500 and bonds

 

2:35 Winners & Losers of this year S-REITs

  • No clear winner, but Hospitality Trusts fared better than the other sectors
  • Most REITs suffered losses, except CDL and Far East Hospitality Trusts with single digit gains.
  • Manulife US REIT dropped -50%, Digital Core REIT -47% and Prime US REIT -45%. Worst performing sector this year is the US Commercial Office sector.

 

3:27 S-REIT market outlook in 2023. With recession looming, what does a recession mean for S-REITs?

  • A US Recession does not mean a recession in Singapore.
  • S-REITs may not be impacted as a whole. It depends on S-REITs with portfolio presence in affected countries (e.g. a US recession will affect S-REITs with US presence).
  • Also dependent on the sector

 

5:09 Fed Fund rates poised to reach 5% next year. Is the slowing down of the rate hike good for S-REITs?

  • Good for S-REITs. The rapid rate hikes this year are too uncertain. A slowing down gives more predictability and visibility for REITs.

 

6:41 Do you think S-REITs factored in additional rate hikes in their share price valuation?

  • Yes, looks like it has factored in a Fed Fund 5% rate. The recent lowering of government bond yields has increased yield spread.

 

7:25 Any indication of how S-REITs are to perform next year?

  • Most REITs are healthy, but some REITs have ‘warning signs’, for example high gearing ratio REITs like ARA Hospitality Trust or low ICR.

 

8:31 8% GST Rate Hike: What impact will it have on S-REITs?

  • There should be low/minimal impact. Mainly affects local consumption in Singapore. Especially for S-REITs with overseas exposure, they will not be impacted.

 

9:05 Which S-REITs can tide us through a potential recession in 2023?

3 Criteria for me:

  • Track Record of increasing NAV/Unit and DPU growth
  • Low Gearing Ratio and healthy ICR
  • Has a well-diversified portfolio

 

10:24 What should we watch out for? Any sectors to avoid?

  • No sectors to avoid, individual REITs’ performance is much more important
  • Poor performing REITs (especially even in good economic conditions) may perform even worse
  • High Gearing Ratio and low ICR can cause debt refinancing issues for REITs

 

11:54 China has announced the easing of COVID-zero measures. What effect will this have on S-REITs?

  • Expect ‘revenge travelling and spending’ of Chinese Tourists
  • Mainland China occupied No.1 spot in Tourism Receipts in Singapore in 2019
  • 54% of their budget goes to shopping and 15% in accommodation
  • Benefits the Retail and Hospitality Sector

 

13:26 To what extent will China’s reopening offset the global slowdown and on Singapore’s economy?

 

14:37 What should we be aware of when adding S-REITs with China exposure to their portfolios?

  • China has gone through debt crises in the past 2 years, giving REITs headwinds when refinancing due to increased difficulty in acquiring favorable loans 
  • Healthy Balance Sheets are very important

 

15:57 Will 2023 be the year of recovery for S-REITs?

  • Yes, Interest Rates should be peaking in the next year.
  • However, 2 Risks:
    • Further increases in Interest Rates (maybe above 6-7% and beyond) may cause another S-REIT market crash due to reasons
    • S-REITs may perform badly if there were to be a severe recession

 

17:00 What is your approach when investing in S-REITs and any tips?

  • No one can predict the market and the macro-environment. Don’t worry about what we cannot control.
  • Focus on your own Financial Objectives.
  • Accumulate in stages
  • Ensure a Diversified Portfolio!

 

17:58 Outro

Note: The above analysis are my own personal views and are NOT buy or sell recommendations. Investors who would like to leverage my extensive research and years of Singapore REIT investing experience can approach me separately for a REIT Portfolio Consultation.

 

Listen to his previous market outlook interviews here:

2022

2021

2020

Kenny Loh is an Associate Wealth Advisory Director and REITs Specialist of Singapore’s top Independent Financial Advisor. He helps clients construct diversified portfolios consisting of different asset classes from REITs, Equities, Bonds, ETFs, Unit Trusts, Private Equity, Alternative Investments, Digital Assets and Fixed Maturity Funds to achieve an optimal risk adjusted return. Kenny is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, SGX Academy REIT Trainer, Certified IBF Trainer of Associate REIT Investment Advisor (ARIA) and also invited speaker of REITs Symposium and Invest Fair.  

You can join my Telegram channel #REITirement – SREIT Singapore REIT Market Update and Retirement related news. https://t.me/REITirement

Continue ReadingMoney and Me: Is 2023 the year of recovery for S-REITs?

Money and Me: What happens after the recent S-REIT crash?

  • Post author:

15 November 2022

Money and Me: Money and Me: S-REITs vs T-bills & SSBs. Who trumps?

Just recently, Singapore REITs experienced one of its biggest sell off in 20 years. In fact, latest numbers from the iEdge S-Reit Index also revealed more than 15% decline in total returns year-to-date! 

But fret not, because on this episode of Money and Me, Dan Koh and Zia-ul Raushan invite Kenny Loh, REIT Specialist and Independent Financial Advisor who will be sharing more about what investors should be doing amid the S-REIT sell off and where he sees value in the real estate investment space. 

 

 

Transcription:

Introduction

Singapore’s REITs and Property Trusts S-REITs Sector declined 7% in total returns. Latest numbers from the iEdge SREIT index also revealed that more than 15% decline in total returns year to date. S-REITs, which are traditionally seen as reliable income instruments, are starting to lose their appeal to investors. So against the backdrop of the recent SREIT sell-off, what should investors be doing? Today we ask Kenny Loh, REITs Specialist and Financial Advisor.

Q: Give us an overview of the current S-REIT market and how it has performed so far. (1:32)

It has been a rollercoaster for the past one or two months. Basically, if you look at the REIT Index itself, actually the capital it with a huge sell off of, 70% in September after breaking the support. If you look at index itself, the support level is about 790 – 800 level, and which has been holding very well for the past two years. Right after the sell off the REIT index itself reached the two year low of 660 points.

And after that the REIT index rebounded strongly with a gap out for the past two weeks of about 11%. That’s why you can see that more and less there is more or less V-shaped recovery. And today, uh, this morning, and when I look at the REIT index itself, basically the rebound momentum should continue.

Q: The US Fed’s recent delivery of its fourth consecutive 75 basis point rate hike and likely to further rate hikes in December by probably 0.5%, but we are still looking at that now. What do you make of this and how much of a pullback in share prices of as rates are you expecting? I mean, how do you see them responding to this news? (2:28)

I think at the present moment the REIT sector in Singapore has already priced in this rate hike. Based on last Friday, if you look at the inflation, inflation came in lower than expected, right?
That cause the huge rally on the US stocks itself. That’s why Monday the REIT index have a gap up and you can see the bullish moment coming in. So the present moment, actually yield spread is pretty wide. The selloff is really overdone.

If you compared to the price to book evaluation and also valuation you for the whole REIT sector itself, we are getting very close to the COVID crash level in March 2020. Which does not make sense because if you look at the macro environment and also the business environment, they are doing better than the covid crash because during Covid crash, everything locked down. The whole world economy has halted. And nobody knows what’s going on. At that point the sell-off is warranted and based on today’s valuation, it doesn’t make sense to me. 

Q: S-REITs are commonly seen as a safe haven in periods of volatility and uncertainty. But recent weeks have shown that it has struggled to stand up against the aggressive arising interest rate environment, and a potential recession. So, Kenny, what should investors do now? Is it the right time to buy the dip and has S-REITs bottomed up? (4:14)

It is important to do ‘bottom fishing’. I’m currently doing bottom fishing for myself and also for my clients because at the end of the day, we are investing in REIT for it passive income for our retirements. So as long as an investor has not really achieved their passive income goal, probably maybe 10,000 per month, first of all, they have to sell a target first, as long as they have not met the goal, they can use this price weakness to continue to accumulate more because investing in REITs like investing in real estate.
If the price/book value is 0.8, which means that 20% discounted valuation, if you just think of it, its like a property on Orchard Road selling at 20% discount, right? While in the macro environment, rents are going up. And you look at it, the valuation continue goes up. The rental goes up. Now the market gives you a huge discount because of a fear in the market. It’s a good time to accumulate. Nothing to worry about it.

Past REIT Index chart (2 years). V-Shaped Rebound on the way?

Q: But that raises the question if we should be investing our cash into safer investment tools like T-Bills and SSBs, because SSBs current return rate over 10 years is 3.47% and for T-Bills about 4%. It is worthwhile taking the risk? (5:45)

There are pros and cons. T-Bills very sensitive to interest rate. It’s pretty short term. You’re talking about six months and one year. In the rising interest rate environment you can lock in th high interest rate, but how about six months later? The rates will go down. You also cannot liquidate a T-Bill easily. If you want to liquid it in between, you need to sell at the market, you may incur a loss. You will have to make sure to hold until maturity.

For SSBs, you can lock in for the next 10 years, around 3.4%, if I’m not mistaken. Redemption period is only one month. That’s why I’m using SSB for my emergency fund and you can lock in for the next 10 years.

But on another hand that you do not have an opportunity to participate in the capital application. Right. So that is a disadvantage on the, the SSB itself. Also if you have 200,000 now, based on the last allocation, I think that each individual investor have been allocated about 10,000.

Moving forward, I think the next month it’ll be even lower because interest rate is much higher than the last issue. But REITs itself, they are currently undervalued. Eventually there’ll be a mean reversion. When that happens, you can enjoy the high yields of 7.4% average! Even Blue Chip REITs give you 6% easily. And some of the overseas property REITs are currently having 14% ttm yield!

The Yield Spread is pretty high now. In short, invest in Singapore. This gives an investor a chance to really participate in the upside, at the same time to be rewarded 6-7% yield. At the same time, you are also getting paid, and the dividends are much higher than SSB yields.

Q: Based on the recent reporting season, how do you think S-REITs performed? Were there any surprises or shocks that stood out? (8:28)

No big surprises. I would say that if compared to year on year, DPU growth is 50-50, half of REITs are doing better compared to the past year, half of them slightly below expectations. More noticeable however are hospitality REITs. We stared off from a very low base and of course definitely they perform much better during this period and moving forward when China is going to reopen,
I think it’s pretty soon because they cannot lock down forever, and Chinese tourists, when they do start traveling Asia and Singapore should become one of the top destinatiosn for Chinese tourists.

The Hospitality and Retail Sectors in Singapore are then expected to do well.

Q: What about those in the industrial sectors for S-REITs? How do you see the sustainability of their profits in the long term? (9:38)

So far, based on the past earnings of performance, they are still giving good DPU. It’s quite stable. It’s not really a factor. And they are also able to pass some of the costs increases and/or inflation by rising the tenant rentals and also increasing service charges. So I would say that those industrial, which have a very strong sponsor and also have very good track records, they are able to weather through during this period from the performance we have seen so far.

I believe they are experienced enough to have all different tools to really navigate during the high interest rate and also high inflation period. So especially when it come to the hospitality sector, you can see that hotel rates are being adjusted every day. They are able to adjust it as quick as possible to really capitalize and pass the costs onto the guests. the.

Q: Are there any S-REITs that have the potential to withstand prolong economic shocks and thrive during high inflation? (10:46)

There are quite a number of REITs investors should be careful of. Especially those with high Gearing. Also, a weakening economy environment. Because once your economy environment weakens, potentially your future rental will be affected. That will affect your portfolio valuation. Because valuations are based on the discounted cashflow for the future, and that will decrease the REIT’s NAV, and thus Gearing Ratio increases.

If they have short Debt Maturity profiles, they’ll have to refinance at higher interest rates. Lenders look at your balance sheet to see whether you’re strong or not strong before they can decide what kind of interest they’ll provide you. At the same time, if their Interest Coverage Ratio (ICR) is low, That also indicates the weakness in terms of the cash flow generation. If they’re not able to generate enough cash flow to really pay off all the coupon rate or interest rate, the REIT will be in trouble. They have to either sell the current property (that will further decrease the DPU), or they have to issue additional rights.
It is also a bad time to issue rights, since the share price is very low. But if they issue the rights now, that will further depress the share price. REIT managers will try to avoid that.

Q: Which sectors look particularly attractive to you? (12:23)

Typically, I have 3 different themes to investing.

First theme: If an investor wants really stable, predictable REITs, just stay with the industrial sector because industrial sector is normally stable. But you still have to look at REITs with a lot of business parks. Because if the tenants are SMEs, with the recession period, you’ll have a tougher time navigating the recession period. But those big MNCs like those in the tech sector, with good cash flows, they can continue operations and pay rental. With blue chip industrial REITs, you should be able to have very stable dividends.

Second theme: Reopening play. I’m banking a lot on China. When China ends lock downs, and tourists come out, there’ll be the revenge spending and revenge traveling phenomenon again. We’ve done it before, right? So we cannot underestimate the spending power of all those China tourists. Certainly that will help in the hospitality sector. For the Hospitality sector, we have to stay with those hospitality REITs that have very wide exposure to China tourists.

Third theme: Third will be more on eCommerce, because eCommerce and also digitalization of the economy, you cannot run from it. The world is going through technology transformation. Everything will be digitalised. So data centres are another area I’m looking at for growth purposes.

Q: Now Kenny, moving on to overseas, Cromwell European REIT, IRETI Global and Elite Commercial REIT have suffered a brunt of risk off-sell off this year and is shared between 21.6% and 30.8% to date. In your opinion, do you think this sell-off was overdone and do they look attractive now? (14:25)

Yeah, REITs with overseas property looks very attractive to me now. But for Europe itself, there’s another element which is currency, right? Because if we are Singapore investors, if you are looking for the dividend payout in SGD itself, if you look at the Euro and the British Pound and their depreciation, that may be another reason why Singapore investors shun away from all these European REITs based on the currency of itself.

But if investors have not really invested in those countries yet, the yield is pretty attractive first thing. Second thing, the valuation is very cheap. And third thing, both Euro and the British Pound are very cheap. If you have a long term horizon, why not?
Invest and wait for the rebound of the currency and also rebound on the valuation. Eventually they’ll go back to the meanover the long term.

Q: How do you expect REITs to perform for 2023 and what Buy, Sell, Hold indications should we look out for? (15:46)

I have a cautiously bullish view on S-REITs themselves. I studied the past 10 years asset allocation returns of different asset classes. REITs used to perform very well for the past 10 years and whenever the prior year has a huge sell-off, the subsequent years for the S-REIT sectors you have a very strong rebound on the subsequent year. So, for me, basically I’m using this opportunity to lock in the Yield because the Yield is pretty high. At the same time, you are buying some REITs or property at a cheap revolution and just wait for it to recover. Do not really need to worry too much, and eventually properties are properties. Eventually the valuation goes up and also the rental income goes up. That will translate the growth in the future.

Historical Performances of each sector over the last 15 years.

 

How to Build a REIT Portfolio into a Retirement Plan? (SGX Academy Webinar)


Want to learn the fundamentals of what REITs are, and how can this asset class complement your investment portfolio? Why should you invest in this asset class with an average p.a. yield of 5-7% and $100 minimum investment amount? Tune in to learn how to kickstart/improve your REITs investing!

Date: 1st December (Thursday)

Time: 7pm – 830pm

Venue: Online

 

Listen to his previous market outlook interviews here:

2022

2021

2020

Kenny Loh is an Associate Wealth Advisory Director and REITs Specialist of Singapore’s top Independent Financial Advisor. He helps clients construct diversified portfolios consisting of different asset classes from REITs, Equities, Bonds, ETFs, Unit Trusts, Private Equity, Alternative Investments, Digital Assets and Fixed Maturity Funds to achieve an optimal risk adjusted return. Kenny is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, SGX Academy REIT Trainer, Certified IBF Trainer of Associate REIT Investment Advisor (ARIA) and also invited speaker of REITs Symposium and Invest Fair.  

You can join my Telegram channel #REITirement – SREIT Singapore REIT Market Update and Retirement related news. https://t.me/REITirement

Continue ReadingMoney and Me: What happens after the recent S-REIT crash?