REITs fall 22% in March as coronavirus pandemic broadens
The equity market wipeout continued in March, with REITs falling 21.9 percent, according to the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index, following a drop of 8.0 percent in the previous month. The economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to contain it, has had a particularly negative effect on public real estate stocks, as many property sectors are seen as especially vulnerable in the current environment. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 Index fell 12.5 percent in March, following a decline of 8.4 percent in February.
Widespread stay-home and shelter-in-place orders have meant only essential retail businesses are allowed to remain open, which has been particularly devastating for regional malls and their more discretionary retail tenants. Regional mall REITs had the worst performance in March, falling nearly 54.0 percent. Year-to-date, mall REITs are down 60.4 percent, following a lo