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Can REIT Q1 Earnings Surprise Next Week? EXR, GGP, VNO

The real estate investment trust (“REIT”) industry is set to enjoy an extended period of low interest rate as the Federal Reserve has decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25–0.50%.

Following a two-day meeting, Fed officials have concluded that growth in economic activity has indeed slowed down in recent times despite improvements in labor market conditions. There has been a moderation in household spending though consumer sentiments remain high and households’ real income moved north.

It appears that several of the economic indicators are at variance. The Fed statement also pointed that “Since the beginning of the year, the housing sector has improved further but business fixed investment and net exports have been soft.” And tucked in these conflicting signs, the U.S. economy is failing to come up with any sizable growth.

No doubt, REITs are obvious choices during such low periods of rate as they are highly dependent on borrowings for their businesses. Naturally, low rates keep the cost of debt short. Also, they have earned quite a name for being steady and high dividend payers. And in periods of low rates, their dividend payout becomes more attractive than the yields on fixed income and money market accounts.

Therefore, standing in the heart of the first-quarter earnings season, with several of the REITs slated to report their results in the upcoming week, its time to peek into some of their fundamentals and see what’s in store for these S&P 500 constituents.

Extra Space Storage Inc. EXR is slated to report first-quarter 2016 results on Monday, May 2, after the closing bell. The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Salt Lake City, UT-based Extra Space Storage, which offers a vast array of well located storage units to its customers including boat storage, recreational vehicle storage and business storage, is expected to benefit from steady demand in the self storage industry. Same-store revenues are expected to benefit from growth in rates.

However, occupancy levels are unlikely to post any robust growth. Also, the decent benefit from discount reductions that the company enjoyed in earlier quarters is not expected to repeat itself. Moreover, intense competition, new supply and economic weakness are anticipated to have kept the growth momentum range bound in the to-be-reported quarter. (Read more: Will Extra Space Storage Surprise in Q1 Earnings?)

General Growth Properties, Inc. GGP is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 2, after the market closes. This retail REIT has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

While the company’s solid portfolio of high-quality retail properties across attractive locations in the U.S., solid tenant base and portfolio repositioning efforts augur well, the lag in revenues clearly remains a concern. In fact, revenue growth in recent quarters has remained restricted, failing to surpass estimates. Also, retail sales lacked luster in first-quarter 2016.

Moreover, increasing consumer spending on online platforms has emerged as a pressing concern for retail REITs, as the trend is curtailing demand for the retail real estate space. The company also faces competition from its peers. While it strives to counter such pressure through various initiatives, we believe that the implementation of such measures requires considerable upfront expenditure, which might limit near-term growth in profit margins. (Read more: Will Dismal Q1 Earnings Hit General Growth Stock?)

Vornado Realty Trust VNO is slated to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 2, after the market closes. The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.81% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

The high-quality office assets concentrated on a few select high-rent, high barrier-to-entry geographic markets place Vornado well for future growth. Besides these, due to its diverse tenant base and a strong balance sheet, the company is well poised for growth in the to-be-reported quarter.

On the leasing front, the New York business is expected to see continued growth in same-store earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). As for the Washington D.C. market, though it will take some time for the economic recovery to transform into growth, the worst phase is anticipated to be over. (Read more: Is Vornado Realty Set for a Beat in Q1 Earnings?)

Do check back on our full write-up on earnings releases of these stocks.

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GENL GRWTH PPTY (GGP): Free Stock Analysis Report
VORNADO RLTY TR (VNO): Free Stock Analysis Report
EXTRA SPACE STG (EXR): Free Stock Analysis Report
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