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NEW YORK CITY-High-yield debt issued by REITs dropped from $3.7 billion in the first quarter to $650 million in the second. Activity is expected to pick up in 3Q, however, because of reasonably favorable interest rates and increased investor interest, according to a new Standard & Poor’s report, “Structured Finance Ratings Roundup Quarterly: Second-Quarter Performance Trends.”

During the first half of the year, approximately 30 non-hotel REITs issued debt or preferred stock, nearly twice as many as did during the same period in 2000. Among them was the global bond offering by Equity Office Properties that raised more than $1.4 billion. Also, $300 million in unsecured senior notes was offered by Healthcare Realty Trust, which owns and develops properties associated with the delivery of healthcare services.

Lisa Sarajian, managing director of S&P’s Structured Finance Real Estate Cos. group, says that both the REIT and single-family home sectors can look forward to increasing mergers and acquisitions activity, that, from a ratings perspective, is likely to have neutral to slightly negative credit implications. Due to the solid stock performance of these sectors, however, the chance that such deals would have to rely exclusively on debt financing has declined, she says.

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