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Service Properties Trust leads list of US REIT dividend hikes in October

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Service Properties Trust leads list of US REIT dividend hikes in October

Editor's note: This Data Dispatch is updated monthly. This analysis includes publicly traded real estate investment trusts covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence that are based in the U.S. or Canada and trade on the NYSE, Nasdaq, NYSE American, Toronto Stock Exchange or Toronto Venture Exchange.

Ten U.S.-based publicly traded equity real estate investment trusts raised their regular dividend payments in October, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Hotel-focused Service Properties Trust announced the biggest relative dividend growth of the month, massively increasing its quarterly cash distribution to 20 cents per share from 1 cent per share on Oct. 13. The dividend increase, which represents a 37% normalized funds from operations payout ratio on the REIT's second-quarter results, was due to the continued improved performance of its hotel portfolio and consistent performance of its net-lease assets, according to Service Properties Trust CFO and Treasurer Brian Donley.

Donley said dividend at this level is "well covered and sustainable," allowing the REIT to give back excess cashflows to shareholders while meeting its short-term liquidity needs. "After payment of this dividend, [Service Properties Trust] expects to have over $750 million of available liquidity, which is far in excess of near-term obligations," Donley added.

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The next-highest dividend increase during the month was by hotel REIT Apple Hospitality REIT Inc., which boosted its monthly payout by 14.3% to 8 cents per share.

Regional mall REIT Macerich Co. had the third-biggest dividend gain, increasing its quarterly dividend by 13.3% to 17 cents per share. Rounding out the top five dividend hikes are multifamily-focused NexPoint Residential Trust Inc., which raised its quarterly dividend by 10.5% to 42 cents per share, and outlet center REIT Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc., which announced a 10.0% hike in its quarterly distribution to 22 cents per share.

The other five REITs that announced dividend hikes during the month were communications-focused Crown Castle Inc., single-tenant retail REITs Getty Realty Corp. and Agree Realty Corp., specialty REIT Postal Realty Trust Inc. and farmland-focused Gladstone Land Corp.

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Dividend hikes by sector

Year-to-date, the number of U.S. REITs that announced dividend increases total 88, or about 54.3% of the entire U.S. REIT industry.

On a sector basis, 15 residential REITs in the U.S. have reported higher dividends year-to-date, or about 78.9% of all residential REITs.

In terms of the percentage of dividend increases relative to the sector's total, specialty REITs came in second at about 73.7%, or 14 dividend hikes, year-to-date.

The retail sector had the highest number of REITs that announced dividend gains year-to-date at 21, 11 of which were from the shopping center segment.

A total of nine Canadian REITs have announced dividend increases year-to-date, three of which came from the residential sector and another three from retail. The industrial, diversified and office segments each have one dividend growth announced.

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