University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, a property under a US healthcare REIT. (Photo: Ventas REIT)

Foreign buyers are acquiring healthcare properties in the United States, even as US-listed healthcare REITs are trimming their portfolios, Fitch Ratings said in a statement on 18 November.

According to the ratings agency, these buyers are predominantly foreign capital and private equity firms who do not normally acquire US-based healthcare properties.

“The nature of the buyers has been as telling as the volume sold. Three separate recently announced transactions approached or exceeded USD1 billion in value”, it added.

“Foreign investors are increasingly looking to invest in US healthcare real estate, particularly those with longer term horizons such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and insurance companies”, the agency observed.

Fitch Ratings also opined that the increasing institutionalisation of healthcare real estate in the country would be credit positive for REITs to the extent that it improves asset liquidity and financeability.

“These positive implications are tempered by the possibility that the rise of less-seasoned buyers as the highest bidders is a counterintuitive signal of peaking values and an aging cycle, as it has been in other sectors' cycles”, the agency added.

By Ridzwan Rahmat

Ridzwan has been analysing REITs and business trusts since 2008, and personally manages a portfolio comprising mainly of SGX-listed REITs. He founded REITsWeek in 2013.