South African Reits’ Covid-19 Relief Tops R3.5 Billion

SAREIT Research Committee’s Second Report shows remarkable contribution of the listed property sector to the economy.

The SA REIT Association (“SAREIT”), a representative umbrella body for the 27 South African REIT companies focused on promoting the sector as an attractive asset class; today released the second instalment of its Research Committee’s Rental Relief Report covering the period from January to June 2021.

Combined, the reports provide comprehensive insights into the sector’s response to the crisis of its tenants following the roll-out of restrictions by the government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Between April and December 2020, a total of R3 billion in support had been provided by REITs, with 69% of the relief dispensed between April to August 2020. REITs issued a further R500 million between January and June 2021, bringing the total relief comprising rental discounts and deferrals to R3.5 billion.

Joanne Solomon, CEO of the SAREIT, commented: “We estimate that in total, SA REITs provided over R3.5 billion in rental relief to their tenants over only 15 months. This is a material number in any environment, particularly in the face of already pressurised earnings and weak macroeconomic fundamentals. The tremendous collective effort that our members made to enable business sustainability during the pandemic is a clear demonstration of their continuing role as a key player in the economy.”

The REITs’ relief measures played a key stabilising role in the overall economy by supporting all its tenants, especially SMMEs, which are a critical segment of the economy. 80% of the relief came through in the form of unrecoverable discounts intended to sustain tenants’ cashflows and curb business failures, with the remaining 20% as deferrals on rental payments.

Amelia Beattie, Chairman of the Research Committee and CEO of Liberty Two Degrees said: “The rental relief reports offer a clear look into the role we have played in ensuring business sustainability during the worst of the pandemic, and also throughout the moves across various lockdown levels. Given SA’s shift to lockdown Level 1 in October 2021, we anticipate that rental relief provisions will be reduced even further, enabling our sector to move fully towards a recovery phase.”

As part of SAREIT’s repositioning process in 2020, the Association formed the Research Committee aimed at generating and providing access to high quality, independent research related to the listed property sector in South Africa and other relevant markets, as well as act as a trusted research hub for members and the industry at large.

Solomon commented: “The establishment of the SAREIT Research Committee was a critical element of our renewed strategy, and we are pleased to have seen the high level of collaboration from our members to deliver such an important set of inaugural reports. We look forward to delivering more insights on material topics affecting the South African listed property sector.”
This report’s contributors are Pranita Daya, Ndivhuho Netshitenzhe, and Phil Barttram.

Read the full report

SAREIT 2022 Conference Once Again the Place for The Sector’s Best Insights

12 October – The SAREIT Association (SAREIT), a representative umbrella body for South African REITs, today opened registration for its highly anticipated SA REIT Conference 2022 set to take place through a hybrid model on 3 February 2022.

Following the success of its previous conferences, and after a break due to COVID-19, the SAREIT Conference is ready to roll out unmatched opportunities once again to hear from REIT executives first-hand, learn from leaders in the real estate investment community, and take part in candid conversations with peers and industry shapers regarding local and international trends shaping our industry.

The conference attracts executives and senior management representatives, property and retail analysts, institutional investors, banks, entrepreneurs, corporate sponsors, and accounting and legal entities operating in the dynamic property world.
Sponsored by Nedbank CIB, the conference will take place on 3 February 2022 at Houghton Hotel, Lloys Ellis Avenue, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198. In addition, an on-line platform will be provided for virtual delegates.

“These are unprecedented times, and this conference provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on our experiences and share views with our peers across the sector. We are delighted to be part of the conference again as we all continue to build this critical segment of the economy.” says Gary Garrett, Managing Executive of Property Finance at Nedbank CIB”.

Industry thought leaders will discuss pertinent issues for investors and capital providers, including the policy and the business environment impacting REITs, ESG, advocacy and emerging trends for the sector locally and abroad.

Much has changed since the last time South Africa’s REIT industry and its partners gathered for our last conference. The intervening two years will go down as the most challenging of years in recent times, marked by enormous uncertainty from a human and social perspective, requiring unprecedented adjustments to the way we live, work and play.

“With this in mind, the SA REIT Conference 2022 is specifically designed to highlight the different and diverging views about our sector. It’s all about authentic, critical debate,” says Taverna-Turisan, SA REIT Association’s Marketing Committee Chairman.

The programme provides direct access to the most influential players in the local and international REIT sector. Through high-profile keynote speakers and several panel discussions, the programme will offer multifaceted perspectives on REITs’ latest pressures and innovations.

CEO of the SA REIT Association, Joanne Solomon, says: “While the pandemic exacerbated South Africa’s underlying economic weakness, and much rests on an improvement in economic conditions, it is encouraging to witness how SA’s REITs – which are a key contributor across the whole South African economic value chain – have demonstrated a commitment to the country and fully assume their role in ensuring that we rebuild our future together.”

The SA REIT Conference 2022 is a significant opportunity to examine the forces shaping the sector and consider the contribution it is being compelled to make in the broader issues affecting the country.

Register now