Boston Properties is selling. Should other property-owners be worried?
Boston Properties is in selling mode again — a fact underscored by recent transactions through which the company is shedding nearly half of its stakes in 100 Federal St. and Atlantic Wharf in Boston. A Bloomberg reporter recently noted that the last time this happened, the company cashed out of significant real estate holdings just before the 2008 crash.
A slide Boston Properties executives used a presentation to investors in Boston last week makes the point starkly.
The slide, which can be found on the Boston Properties website, shows that during the three years before the 2008 crash, the REIT disposed of $4.1 billion in real estate while acquiring only $1.2 billion. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Boston Properties began buying again — acquiring $5 billion in real estate while disposing of only $559 million worth.
Things get especially interesting when you look at the past 18 months. According to the chart, which was disseminated by Boston Properties and prepared by Green Street Advisors and Eastdil Secured, the REIT has again been in selling mode, acquiring only $458 million worth of real estate while selling, or announcing plans to sell, $3.6 billion worth.
In their Boston presentation to investors, Boston Properties executives sounded anything but alarmed about markets. An unofficial transcript made available by Bloomberg to subscribers quotes company leaders speaking effusively about the Cambridge and Waltham markets and positively, if in a more-reserved manner, about the Boston market for high-end tenants.
But an executive whose identity is unclear from the transcript says: "We do think today is an opportunity ot time to harvest select assets in our portfolio."