Before landfall there were
9,000 REIT-owned properties
in Sandy's path, SNL says.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA-REITs, among other property owners, are assessing the damage to their portfolios wrought by Hurricane Sandy and the initial reports suggest the damage has been minimal. That said, these first reports are from REITs largely outside of Sandy’s strike zone. Indeed, the potential for REIT losses are huge: there are some 1,600 properties owned by REITs in the hard hit New York-New Jersey markets, according to SNL Financial. In addition, there are five REITs that have a significant exposure to these areas.

These REITs include Alexander’s Inc., part of Vornado, which has 100% of its primarily retail portfolio there. First Real Estate Investment Trust of New Jersey is second on the list, with 81% of its portfolio in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metro area. Gyrodyne Co. of America Inc. has three out of four of the properties in its portfolio in the area. Then, Mack-Cali Realty and SL Green Realty round out SNL’s list of top five U.S. REITs in terms of exposure to the New York City metro region, with 68% and 63% of the companies’ respective portfolios there.

Sandy’s punch, of course, was huge, reaching down to the Delmarva region. REITs with assets in the Mid-Atlantic, though, clearly will fare better. The Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s 71 properties are all located in the wide swath that was affected by Sandy. Ditto First Potomac Realty Trust, with its 62 properties in the area of exposure. In total, total, more than 9,000 properties owned by public U.S. equity REITs had potential exposure to Hurricane Sandy, SNL estimated.

Some of these REITs are already reporting their damage assessments and for the most part, executives are heaving collective sighs of relief. First Potomac has already inspected its properties and found only minimal damage. “The majority of our properties are in full operation today, thanks to our property crews who worked hard to both prepare, and resolve, any issues caused by the storm,” Doug Donatelli, CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Another local REIT reporting an “all clear” is DiamondRock Hospitality, in Bethesda, Md. All associates and guests staying at its hotels impacted by Hurricane Sandy are safe, it said in a statement. After preliminary physical inspections, its hotels directly impacted by the storm–which includes two hotels located in Washington, D.C., four hotels located in New York City and two hotels located in Boston–did not suffer significant property damage. The REIT is currently evaluating the financial impact from the storm on hotel operating results.

Washington, DC-based DuPont Fabros Technology has announced today that all of its eight data centers located in Northern Virginia and Piscataway, NJ received no major damage and performed without interruption during Sandy. In Rochester, NY, Home Properties reported that its East Coast apartment communities sustained some damage from Hurricane Sandy, but there have been no injury to any residents or employees. The company initially estimates costs of hurricane-related clean-up and repairs to be approximately $1 million to $1.5 million, which will be significantly offset by insurance reimbursement.

SL Green has also reported that its portfolio was mostly spared from Sandy’s onslaught. One REIT that has not issued a statement is Vornado, which has significant exposure to the New York market. The REIT did, however, announced on Monday–the day of the hurricane’s landfall—that it sold four office buildings for $186 million.