Last week marked one of the worst weeks of all time for U.S. equity real estate investment trust stocks, as the coronavirus pandemic spread and fear in the investment world intensified, according to an analysis posted Friday by investment research firm S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Although hotels and malls were the most severely hit sectors last week, the senior housing and nursing home sectors followed close behind, with share prices for real estate investment trusts that own these facilities down significantly. Before President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency late Friday afternoon, leading the markets to rebound a bit, Sabra Health Care REIT was down 48.6% for the week, while Ventas’ share price had fallen 44.8%, Diversified Healthcare Trust had dropped 44.7% and New Senior Investment Group had fallen 42.8%.
Senior living properties in particular can suffer during severe flu seasons, as residents die or move into hospitals, and some observers expect a more dramatic version of this as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, the analysts noted.
“There’s now this real concern that if there’s more of a freak-out in these types of facilities, they could empty out really quickly,” said Mizuho REIT analyst Omotayo Okusanya.