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Feature Story: Wall Street analysts laud sector during BOMA MOB conference

Despite COVID, total MOB sales volume is likely to top 2019, according to panelists

By John B. Mugford

MOB sales volume in the first half of 2020, was $5.5 billion, “which was 10 percent higher than in the same period in 2019,” according to Mindy Berman of JLL. “This is really a ratification of medical office, and our sentiment at this point is (the volume) we will equal or exceed the 2019 level.” (HREI photo)

With medical office buildings (MOBs) continuing to show their resiliency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it would only make sense that the product type continues trading at strong pricing and attracting an even wider range of investor types.

Perhaps left out of the MOB buyer’s market of late have been the country’s healthcare-focused, real estate investment trusts (REITs). While their stock prices have rebounded in recent months from large drops at the outset of the pandemic, the REITs haven’t been as big of a buyer group as they normally are.

“But you know that puts the REITs undervalued right now, in our in our opinion, relative to their net asset value,” said Todd Stender, a senior equity analyst with Wells Fargo Securities. “That also is going to contribute to them maybe not growing externally as fast, if they don’t have access to the equity market. HTA (Healthcare Trust of America, NYSE: HTA), for example, does have some forward equity that they can tap, and they prudently tapped that market recently and I believe they have until June of next year to tap that equity.

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