REITs Fall as Jobs Report Boosts Odds of Interest-Rate Hike

  • Property owners' shares have biggest decline since late August
  • U.S. employers added 271,000 jobs in October, most this year

Shares of real estate investment trusts fell the most since August after an upbeat reading on U.S. jobs increased the odds the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.

Companies that own properties such as luxury hotels, office towers and shopping malls are being whipsawed as investors wager on when the central bank will raise its benchmark lending rate for the first time in nine years. Higher interest rates may be a drag on property values and make it more expensive for REITs to raise money.

“The market knew the Fed would eventually raise rates and the REIT party would be more sober,” said John Kim, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York. “Declining interest rates have been a huge tailwind to asset and REIT prices in recent years -- going forward they will be a headwind.”

Employment in October surged by the most this year, wage growth accelerated and the jobless rate fell to a seven-year low of 5 percent, pushing up the odds for a rate increase at next month’s Fed policy meeting.

The Bloomberg REIT Index fell 3.1 percent, the most since a 4.7 percent drop on Aug. 24. The biggest losers were health-care landlords: Ventas Inc., at 6.2 percent, Omega Healthcare Investors, at 6.1 percent, and Welltower Inc., at 6 percent.

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