Highwoods Properties, Inc. ( HIW Quick Quote HIW - Free Report) recently announced $98 million of non-core asset sales. The move comes as part of Highwoods’ disciplined capital-recycling strategy that entails disposing of non-core assets and redeploying the proceeds in premium asset acquisitions and accretive development projects. Particularly, HIW sold the FBI Tampa Field Office, which is a 138,000 square feet office building, for $70.4 million. It was built-to-suit for the FBI in 2005 and was renewed in 2020 under a long-term lease. Moreover, the company is expected to clock in the sale of the remainder office buildings in Greensboro for $20.3 million, either later in the current quarter or in early third quarter this year. The buildings encompass 299,000 square feet with an occupancy of 88.2%. In total, these properties were projected to generate $6.3 million of annual GAAP net operating income and $5.7 million of annual cash net operating income, inclusive of the effect of free rent, in 2022. Additionally, the company has disposed an 8.9-acre non-core land parcel next to its One Independence office building in Tampa’s Westshore BBD for $6.9 million. It was sold off to a developer who intends to construct apartment units. As a result, Highwoods expects to record $2.3 million of land sale gains (included in FFO) in the second quarter. According to Ted Klinck, president and CEO of Highwoods “With these sales, we will have sold $464 million of non-core properties since we announced our acquisition of a portfolio of office properties from PAC in mid-2021 and remain on pace to return our balance sheet to pre-acquisition metrics by the middle of 2022.” Highwoods’ well-diversified tenant base and its efforts to expand in the high-growth markets, sell non-core assets and invest the proceeds in further expansion bode well for long-term growth. HIW is seeing a recovery in demand for its high-quality, well-placed office properties as highlighted by a rebound in the new leasing volume. A large part of its portfolio is concentrated in high-growth Sun Belt markets, which have long-term favorable demographic trends and are expected to continue experiencing above-average job growth. This will likely support Highwoods’ rent growth over the long term. Highwoods currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Its shares have lost 12.9% against the industry’s decline of 4.3% over the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Key Picks
Some better-ranked stocks from the REIT sector are
Prologis ( PLD Quick Quote PLD - Free Report) , Extra Storage Space ( EXR Quick Quote EXR - Free Report) and OUTFRONT Media ( OUT Quick Quote OUT - Free Report) . The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Prologis’ 2022 funds from operations (FFO) per share has moved 1.8% upward in the past month to $5.15. PLD presently carries a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Extra Storage Space’s ongoing year’s FFO per share has been raised 1.1% over the past month to $8.01. EXR carries a Zacks Rank #2, currently. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for OUTFRONT Media’s current-year FFO per share has moved 35% northward in the past month to $2.09. OUT carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.