U.S. equity REITs' at-the-market fundraising rose 318% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2014 to reach $1.73 billion, according to SNL Financial. REITs have been increasing the capital raised through these programs every quarter for the last year.
U.S. equity REITs raised $8.87 billion this year through March 7, slightly less than the $9.17 billion during the comparable period in 2013, according to SNL Financial. Retail REITs raised the most capital during this period.
Shareholders have approved the plan to merge Apple REIT Seven, Apple REIT Eight and Apple REIT Nine at special meetings. The mergers will become effective Saturday. With 188 hotels and 23,490 rooms, the transaction creates one of the largest lodging REITs in the U.S.
REITs will be able to handling rising interest rates due to their conservative balance sheets and limited exposure to short-term and floating-rate debt, Fitch Ratings says in a report. The bigger question is how the larger economy reacts to higher rates, says analyst Stephen Boyd.
"Increases as a result of stronger economic growth could have positive implications for REIT credits," he said.