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US REITs raise $2.8B through ATM programs in Q4'18, up nearly 31% YOY

Thirty-five U.S. equity real estate investment trusts tapped their at-the-market common equity sales programs during the 2018 fourth quarter, raising more than $2.82 billion, a 31.7% jump over the amount raised during the prior quarter and a 30.7% increase year over year.

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By property sector, single-tenant REITs generated the most proceeds through ATM offerings during the fourth quarter, raising $870.4 million. Realty Income Corp. sold more than 8.5 million common shares during the quarter, generating proceeds of $536.5 million, the most capital raised of any U.S. equity REIT.

Healthcare REITs followed, raising $630.2 million through ATM programs. Welltower Inc. sold nearly 3.3 million shares through its ATM program during the fourth quarter, generating gross proceeds of $236.9 million, while HCP Inc. issued 5.4 million common shares to raise $156.2 million.

At year-end, healthcare REITs traded at a median 4.9% premium to their consensus S&P Global Market Intelligence net asset value per-share estimates, the highest of any property type.

Diversified REIT W. P. Carey Inc. collected $287.5 million in gross proceeds through its ATM program during the fourth quarter, while net-lease-focused STORE Capital Corp. sold more than 9.2 million common shares during the quarter for gross proceeds of $272.5 million.

Twelve U.S. equity REITs have announced new ATM programs year-to-date through March 18, representing $5.35 billion in total capacity.

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HCP and data center REIT Digital Realty Trust Inc. each announced new programs with $1 billion in capacity, the largest year-to-date. Industrial-focused STAG Industrial Inc. announced a $600 million ATM program on Feb. 14.

Thirty-four unique sales agents are associated with the REIT ATM programs announced year-to-date. Wells Fargo Securities LLC and Jefferies LLC each entered into seven new REIT ATM sales agreements, the most of the group, while BMO Capital Markets Corp., Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc., BTIG LLC and Raymond James & Associates Inc. each signed agreements with six.

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