The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the share price of property companies, with 31% wiped off the value of their total market capitalisation during the first quarter of 2020.
Companies focused on the retail, leisure and hospitality property sectors were particularly badly affected as the country was put on lockdown in an effort to halt the spread of the disease. Later in the quarter, the extent of the problem for property companies was revealed with rent collection announcements. Some retail-focused companies had collected below 50% of rent and service charge during the quarter.
It wasn’t just the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors that were affected. Office landlords saw their rental income fall as tenants moved business operations remotely. The industrial sector was also impacted, but to a lesser degree due to the spike in demand from ecommerce tenants.
The huge hit on rent collection saw companies rush to shore up their balance sheets and many have suspended dividends. There were a handful of companies that did emerge from the quarter unscathed. Healthcare property companies, whose income is backed by the government, all saw a slight increase in their share prices over the period.