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NEW YORK CITY-Standard & Poor’s has singled out four REITs as warranting closer attention and has already revised the outlooks on two. The actions follow recommendations contained in S&P’s just-completed Multifamily REIT Review, which has been in the works since August.

Atlanta-based Post Properties Inc.’s outlook has been downgraded from Stable to Negative. The revision was precipitated largely by the REITs high concentration in weak core markets and large development pipeline. Summit Properties, Charlotte, NC was also moved down a peg from Positive to Stable. S&P cites high levels of secured debt, weakness in core markets and the size of its development pipeline as reasons for the revision.

Another Atlanta-based REIT, Gables Residential Trust retains its Stable outlook but weak and highly concentrated core markets, high secured-debt levels and high bank-line use have put it in the crosshairs for further study. United Dominion Realty Trust Inc., Richmond, VA has also been noted for its high debt levels and bank-line usage as well as weak core markets, but it will retain its Stable outlook.

The study, which includes 12 rated REITs, focuses on five areas: market fundamentals, development pipelines, debt levels, joint ventures, and leverage and coverage measures. S&P says that the majority of its multifamily REIT ratings and outlooks “remain sound, supported by the expectation of fairly stable key credit measures, despite expectations for near-term and potentially prolonged economic weakness in the US.

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