Remortgage puts US hotels REIT back on track

The Ashford Hospitality Trust, a US-listed REIT (real estate investment trust) said today that it has completed the refinancing of a mortgage loan wit

The Ashford Hospitality Trust, a US-listed REIT (real estate investment trust) said today that it has completed the refinancing of a mortgage loan with an outstanding balance of approximately $377 million. Founded in 1968, Ashford is an investment trust that invests specifically in US hotels.

The loan is secured against a portfolio of eight US hotels, including the likes of Embassy Suites Portland, Embassy Suites Crystal City and Embassy Suites Orlando. The new loan has a two year initial term and five one year extension options.

“The refinancing is a continuation of our strategy to take advantage in the strength in the debt markets to address a future maturity and achieve substantial expected savings in annual interest payments,” explained Douglas Kessler, CEO at Ashford.

Ashford Hospitality Trust – own luxury hotels in America

Ashford Hospitality Trust focuses on investing with what it calls upper scale, full service hotels in the United States. The trust is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As a REIT is represents a way for investors to buy and sell commercial property. After all, most private investors cannot hope to own luxury hotels or benefit from a share in the income from them.

Ashford has also created its own app which is available for download in the Apple app store and from Google Play.

Pros and cons of investing in hotel REITs

At the time of writing, the REIT was trading at 6.76, having come off a recent high of 7.1 on 2 November. A year ago it was up at 8.22.

Ashford owns hotels all over the US, not just those in its portfolio which were used to secure the mortgage loan. It primarily aims to own hotels outright, but also gets further exposure using structured finance and loans. Most of the branded hotels it owns are either Marriott or Hilton. The trust currently owns over 125 properties.

The Armchair Trader says:

“REITs can be a great way for investors to get exposure to commercial property markets. They are also heavily invested in by institutional investors, like pension funds. In this case, Ashford has a couple of things going for it. Firstly, they specialise in US hotels, which means they know their business. Secondly, they have been investing in US property since 1968. They are a well established fund manager able to trade through economic slow downs. On the downside, if we had a worry, it is what tech disruption may do to the US and global hospitality sector, particularly with the advent of AirBnB. You could argue that prestige hotels will always be able to hold their own – think of all that conference revenue – and that they don’t compete in the same market segment as AirBnB. It could explain some of the slippage in the price in 2017.”

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18th January 2018

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