Blackstone’s BREIT Records Its Biggest Advance in 6 Months

(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc., Blackstone Inc.'s fund for wealthy individual investors, reported its highest monthly total return in six months, as February dividend payments and higher rents offset a drop in property valuations.

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BREIT's lowest-fee share class had a total return of 0.7% for the month, bringing the past 12-month return to 5.7%, according to a report published Tuesday. The share class posted a gain of 8.4% in all of 2022 and an increase of 30.2% in 2021.

Growth slowed last year as rising interest rates undermined property values ​​and the tide of investor inflows reversed into a torrent of bailout requests. BREIT restricted withdrawals for the four months to February as ransom demand exceeded monthly and quarterly limits.

In addition to higher rental income and steady dividends, BREIT's February returns benefited from hedging positions that added value as interest rates rose. Commercial property prices fell 1.4% across all asset classes in February and are down 15% over the past 12 months, according to Green Street.

After its launch in 2017, BREIT grew wildly, acquiring nearly 300,000 homes, 453 million square feet (4.2 million square meters) of industrial space, hotels, data centers, shopping malls, and other real estate. The fund still has about $14 billion in liquidity for possible new acquisitions.

“Where you invest matters and the vast majority of BREIT's portfolio is in rental housing and logistics in the Sunbelt,” Blackstone said in a statement.

BREIT's net asset value fell to $70.5 billion after investors withdrew $1.4 billion last month. Net asset value includes an initial $4 billion committed by the University of California in January, but not a $500 million follow-on investment from the university.

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