Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is the Time Right for Rite Aid?

Yes, the time is right for Rite Aid. An investor will obtain an above average yield commensurate with the market’s view of purchasing a Rite Aid pharmacy.

There is a very active market for Rite Aids with numerous transactions closing in 2010 and 2011. A number of these pharmacies are located on the East Coast. The sales, at cap rates in the 9% range, resulted from the resale of Rite Aids which were originally sold by Rite Aid in 2008. These transactions closed with relatively long periods of time (greater than 17 years) remaining on their base leases. The typical buyers have been individuals and smaller investment firms. In general, financing has been provided by local banks. Cap rates are yielding an approximate 2% premium to comparable CVS and Walgreen locations.

The supply of corporate 2008 vintage Rite Aid stores has been nearly fully absorbed. In addition, Rite Aid has announced that it will not conduct any corporate sale-leaseback transactions in the current year, so that the Company will not add to the available inventory on hand.

Location has reemerged as a critical factor in NNN retail investment analysis. Published asking cap rates for Rite Aids generally are in the 8.5% to 9.5% range, with California locations listing in the mid to high 7’s. A positive indicator that the number of distressed sellers has declined is that asking cap rates of over 10% are rare.

Due diligence for any retail product, but a Rite Aid in particular, should focus on the balance of the remaining base lease term, proximity of national and local competitors and if available, store sales. An absence of any of these factors could have a significant negative impact on the cap rate or even the salability of the property.

Rite Aid’s financial situation has stabilized. Questions about Rite Aid’s future have diminished. Same store sales have begun to rise. Debt maturities have been extended. New management is focused on boosting front-end sales and profitability. In summary, the investor will receive a strong return relative to other investments available in the market.

Rite Aid recently held their first quarter fiscal 2012 earnings conference call. You can view a full report on Rite Aid and that conference call here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Summer Cap Rate Report

Net lease cap rates averaged 7.75% for the first quarter of 2011 continuing the drop in cap rates that began in the second half of 2010. The key driver in this trend has been an increased demand for high quality net lease properties – assets which feature a strong credit tenant, good location, and favorable lease terms – and the scarce supply of those high quality assets. Investors have clearly shown a lopsided preference for these NNN investment properties and as 2011 progresses, demand will outpace supply.

High quality credit rated net leases have routinely sold for caps below 7.00% and when the combination of tenant, location and market align, Calkain’s investors have shown a willingness to close at cap rates (Calkain closed a Bank/Pharmacy deal below a 5.9% cap) that rival the peak of the market. We saw the same thing happen in the last half of 2010 and if that trend continues, it is likely that – buoyed by the improving economy –other NNN asset types will see a compression in cap rates as investors look to jump into the market rather than await the delivery of new product.

You can read the full report here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Net Lease Credit Rating Report

Below is an excerpt from Calkain Research's new Credit Rating Report:

In commercial net leases, the investment yields are primarily based on the credit of the tenant. Other factors such as rental location and trends are also factors, but are not the significant factor in the yield. While credit of the borrower is important in the credit decision, the lender heavily weighs the credit rating of the tenant. Ratings are determined by several credit agencies. Two of the major agencies are Standard & Poors (S&P) and Moody’s. Lenders such as private investors, banks, and insurance companies use these ratings to consider who they may consider giving a secured loan too and what the terms will be.

Each lender has different criteria for who they lend too. For example, CTL lenders will only lend to investment tenants regardless of the quality of real estate. On the other hand, insurance companies such as American Fidelity assess all types of companies and measure them through H and Z scores to determine if they qualify. A company could have no or non-investment credit but have high H and Z scores and qualify for a loan. As do investors, all lenders try to diversify their portfolio assets as much as possible.

You can read the full report here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Research Snapshot: DC, MD & VA Market

A recent theme in the net lease market has been the success of primary markets compared to their tertiary counterparts. While primary markets have been resilient and recently showed remarkable success, tertiary markets continue to struggle. The Washington DC area (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) is chief among the top tier markets and its relative success is easily measurable.

The data highlights a trend that began around the start of the recession in 2008. Although originally quite close, the spread between DC, MD & VA and average market cap rates increased exponentially over the following years. While average overall cap rates show an incremental recovery, the DC metro area has displayed a remarkable resurgence. The key factor to this markets success is the employment stability provided by the federal government, an educated workforce and growing demographics.

Until we witness a full economic recovery, primary markets, especially DC, MD, & VA, will significantly outperform the national average in cap rates. The high demand and scarcity of high performance markets will continue drive their cap rates lower.

Read the full research report here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 ICSC Observations - Part Two

To follow up on last weeks post, here is some more feedback from the 2011 ICSC conference:

  • Everyone from individual investors to large capital groups were hinting at looking at some second tier credit assets that they previously would not have reviewed. There were lots of comments on lack of prime asset inventory and plenty of capital and competition for it.

  • There seemed to be a higher number of professionals with a long tenure in the business vs. the looks good “leasing eye candy” and a shiny outside. Substance was key and it felt as though the firms sent their best and brightest. Everyone was there to work.

  • There were some fantastic conversations with accompanying call backs and leads.