AIMCO is continuing to sell. In last Friday’s conference call, the Denver-based REIT said it has $1.2 billion in dispositions either in negotiations or under contract to be sold and more than another billion in the market. AIMCO has sold $500 million in assets so far this year.
“We expect to continue property sales to upgrade our portfolio and improve liquidity,” said Terry Considine, chairman and CEO of the company on Friday’s second-quarter earnings call.
Though many REITs are sellers right now, AIMCO is the leader. “I think the REITs will be more active on the disposition side, and AIMCO will be the forerunner there,” says Andrew J. McCulloch, an analyst for Green Street Advisors, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based consulting and research firm.
There are two main drivers behind this aggressive stance. AIMCO wants to pay down its term loan (which is due in 2011), and it also wants to prune its portfolio to rid itself of older assets in less desirable locations. Considine says sales have moved the REIT’s portfolio from an average level of Class B to B-plus. Its average rents have also risen. “This has dampened the impact of the recession,” Considine said in the conference call.
Though AIMCO is actively selling, Debbie Corson, a principal in the Chicago office of Apartment Realty Advisors, says it's selling in markets like Ohio, but not at distressed prices. “AIMCO never prices a deal,” she says. “They put a deal out and let the market tell them what they’re worth. Once they find out what the market thinks it’s worth, they evaluate it internally. They certainly are not fire-selling. I think they’re definitely commanding market value.”
But in a market where a lot of deals fall through, selling the $1.2 billion under negotiation and under contract will be difficult. “It’s a big dollar amount to sell,” McCulloch says. “It’s hard in the current environment. You probably have as many deals fail as close.”