CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—The number of hotel deals has declined this year compared to transactions during the same period in 2013, SNL Financial reports. In addition, the deal value has dropped. It is unclear what the drivers are behind this trend-or even if it is a trend at all, as appetite by hotel REITs for assets remains strong and the year could end with strong numbers.
One reason behind the drop in deal value, though, may relate to a growing demand by companies for select-service assets, as they are percevied to deliver better value.
First, though, a look at the numbers.
SNL Financial reported that, as of June 13, there have been 24 hotel acquisitions so far this year, for a total of $1.26 billion. That compares with 32 acquisitions in the same period in 2013, totaling $1.42 billion, for a 25% decrease and an 11.3% decrease in total deal value.
Appetite for additional acquisitions this year appears strong. To cite a few examples, RLJ Lodging has said that it is eyeing West Coast expansion after its $313 million, 10-hotel portfolio purchase from Hyatt Hotels Corp. in March. Then there is Host Hotels & Resorts CEO Ed Walter, who noted during a Feb. 19 earnings call that he expects to be active in transactions this year. According to a May 1 Form 8-K, the REIT expects that acquisition capital expenditures will total $30 million to $35 million for 2014.
But the majority of statements by REIT executives tend to reflect the caution exhibited by Sunstone CEO Kenneth Cruse in a recent earnings call: “We certainly see no signs of this cycle letting up, but at this point we need to be even more careful and selective about how we identify and execute on acquisitions.”
One very recent trend has been the greater demand for select-service hotels. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, Blackstone Group LP is reportedly close to an agreement to buy a group of select-service hotels from Clarion Partners LLC for about $800 million Another example is the joint venture between NorthStar Realty Finance and Chatham Lodging Trust to buy 47 limited-service hotels for $933.9 million. Towering above these transactions is American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust’s $1.93 billion purchase of a group of 126 limited-service properties.
Summit Hotel Properties is also eyeing these assets. “While we continue to see a steady pipeline of potential acquisitions, we remain extremely selective in targeting only the right hotels that fit our long-term growth objectives,” said CEO Daniel Hansen in the company’s first-quarter earnings call. “We have several potential acquisitions in various stages of due diligence and remain focused of the highest quality, premium select service assets that will provide strong in-place yields and create long-term value.”