REIT stocks' performance good sign for commercial real estate
In a now-famous op-ed in the Oct. 16, 2008, edition of The New York Times, Warren Buffett urged investors to buy stocks before the economy recovered. "If you wait for the robins, spring will be over" is how Buffett phrased it. Investors in commercial real estate seem to be taking Buffett's advice to heart. The headlines for commercial real estate have been pretty lousy of late in the U.S. and locally. Vacancy rates are hitting new highs, and rents are falling as landlords are forced to negotiate with their tenants. Many worry that commercial real estate is the "next shoe to drop" in the multi-year financial crisis, and the resulting damage to bank balance sheets could lead to more failures and sluggish lending. But in the midst of that environment, real estate investment trusts (REITs) have been among the best-performing stocks of late--suggesting that investors believe better days are on the horizon.