Are We There Yet? By Scott Smith MAI and Bill Morton
September 19, 2013 6:59pm
By Scott Smith MAI and Bill Morton
September 19, 2013
As the U.S. hotel industry approaches pre-recession levels of operating performance, many of our clients are asking, "Is now a good time to invest in the lodging sector?"
According to the respondents of the 2013 edition of PKF Consulting USA, LLC's (PKFC) Hospitality Investment Survey (HIS), it is a good time to be a hotel owner and investor. While opinions vary among industry professionals regarding the root cause of this positive sentiment, we at PKFC believe that several factors are attributable to the overall positive outlook for hotel real estate.
1. RevPAR grew 6.8 percent in 2012, and is forecast to experience gains in excess of the 2.9 percent long-run average through 2016, with many major markets expecting growth in the 6.0 to 7.0 percent range. This is the result of below average supply growth, stabilizing occupancy levels and robust ADR increases.
2. According to the HIS results, interest rates for hotel development and acquisition purposes remain at historically low levels. This combination of attractive interest rates, increased availability of capital, and the healthy industry performance demonstrated in 2011 and 2012 has made the lodging sector particularly attractive to investors.
3. As special servicers and banks work-out their troubled lodging assets, fewer distressed properties remain to have their loans modified or sold. Recent transactions in the market reflect opportunities to reposition existing properties, still at below replacement cost levels.
4. Multiple survey respondents indicated that there are few quality hotels available for sale, causing interested parties to bid aggressively. In this low interest rate environment, the dividend yield from an existing hotel investment looks very attractive given the risk.
5. Income levels for hotels continue to experience healthy gains. According to PKF Hospitality Research, LLC's (PKF-HR) 2013 Trends in the Hotel Industry report, the average hotel in the survey sample increased its net operating income (NOI) by 10.2 percent in 2012. With strong market fundamentals expected over the next few years, NOI is forecast to increase by 11.6 percent in 2013 and 17.7 percent in 2014.
Conducted in spring 2013, the results of our annual Hospitality Investment Survey indicate that for the most part, the investment criteria we track experienced little change over the prior 12 months. The one metric that continues to improve, however, are the capitalization rates. Lower interest rates, higher dividend expectations and confidence (i.e. lower risk premiums) are driving capitalization rates lower. With more equity and debt coming into the market, cash buyers with a pocket full of money are finding fewer deals to execute, pushing yields lower.
In 2013, the overall capitalization rate (OAR) for all hotels decreased to 8.38 percent, a 35 basis point decrease compared to the 2012 results and the lowest OAR recorded since the inception of this survey. As location in real estate always matters, OAR's for hotels vary to a wide degree based on location and barriers to entry. According to multiple survey respondents, contributing factors to the improved OAR include a decline in distressed related transactions, sophisticated buyers aggressively bidding on high-quality assets, historically low interest rates, solid industry fundamentals and the positive forecasts published by multiple industry research firms (including PKF-HR).
This year's survey also indicated that discount rates, or un-leveraged IRR's, for hotels decreased 37 basis points to 11.05 percent. This further demonstrates that a majority of investor sentiment is positive, and the hotel sector is not viewed as risky as it was just a few years ago as investors are willing to accept a lower return just to get in on the action.
The survey indicates just a slight decrease in the holding period. Many respondents indicated that a shorter holding period is anticipated due to a possible increase in supply and potential upward pressure on interest rates.
Debt service coverage ratios increased slightly, though they remain near 2007/2008 levels. Many survey respondents, particularly investors active in the limited-service segment, indicated that new-construction financing is becoming more available in second-tier and tertiary markets.
Interest rates also fell in 2013 to 5.54 percent, a drop of 104 basis points compared to last year. This is by far the lowest interest rate we have recorded since we began conducting this survey in 1995. Several respondents report good sponsors, with solid balance sheets, are able to secure rates between 400 and 600 basis points above the one-month LIBOR rate. Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios experienced minimal change compared to last year, though at 64.63 percent remain below the historical Hospitality Investment Survey average of 66.0 percent.
While many of the results in the 2013 Hospitality Investment Survey were relatively unchanged compared to last year's survey, two of the most important criteria continue to improve: access to capital and interest rates.
Investors and lenders surveyed continue to be bullish regarding the next few years, and due to the lack of high-quality assets being marketed for sale, expect the transaction activity of well-branded assets in second-tier and tertiary markets to increase over the next 12 to 18 months.
So are we there yet? As real estate cycles go, the positive RevPAR and NOI expectations for the lodging sector during the near term will allow property values to continue to grow. If one believes increasing NOI, limited supply growth and improved access to capital is the destination for the lodging investor - then yes, we have arrived.
hospitality investment survey,
Contact: Robert Mandelbaum, Director of Research Information Services
404 842 1150, ext 223
Caribbean Hotels Enjoy Fourth Consecutive Year of Double-Digit NOI Growth
PKF Hospitality Research Forecast Accuracy Remains High
Attendance and Expenditures Now Lead Recovery Of Group Demand
Hotel Occupancy to Hit Record High in 2015
Even Lenders Are Happy: Interest Expense Coverage Continues to Improve
In Hotels, Health Equals Wealth
Lodging Insights: U.S. Lodging Industry Forecast for 2015 and How the Outlook Differs by Chain Scale
Protracted Prosperity: Profits and Resulting Values Expected to Increase
PKF-HR Forecasts Broad-Based RevPAR Growth for All Segments of U.S. Lodging Industry
IACC & PKF Release "Trends® in the Conference Center Industry 2014"
Hotel Spas: Doing Well by Doing Good
Budgeting Is Getting Easy
The Components of Franchise Fees
PKF-HR Forecasts Record Occupancy for 2015
Hotel Supply Fundamentals Provide a Roadmap for Future Construction
Approaching The Top Benefits The Bottom
PKF Report Shows Caribbean Hotels Steadily Improving
U.S. Hotels in Profitable Portion of Business Cycle
PKF Video Discussion on the 2014 Hospitality Investment Survey Results
PKF Hotel Investment Survey Concludes Good Times Ahead for Lodging Industry
Recovery Ends - Peak Performance to Persist - PKF Forecasts Record Performance for U.S. Hotels
Video Recap of Trends in the Hotel Industry: U.S. Hotels are in Profitability Sweet Spot says PKF
Hotel Marketing: Investing In People And Technology
U.S. Hotels In Profitability Sweet Spot: Double-Digit Gains In NOI Forecast Through 2015
Shift in Hotel Retail Impacts Revenues and Profits
U.S. Hotel Forecast: Overbuilding Is Not A Concern (Yet!)
Lodging Insights Video: PKF Shares Thoughts on Group Hotel Demand & the GDP
Accuracy Remains High for PKF's Latest Forecast Assessment of Lodging Industry
Incentive Fees On The Rise By Robert Mandelbaum and Viet Vo
PKF's Hotel Horizons® January 2014 Video Update Discussing Possible Future Supply Concerns
Please login or register to post a comment.