Essex, San Diego's 3rd largest landlord, misses Wall Street expectations

Essex Property Trust, the third largest landlord in San Diego County, slightly missed Wall Street expectations with its fourth quarter earnings report released Thursday.

The publicly-traded residential real estate investment trust had funds from operations in the fourth quarter of $190.8 million, or $2.81 per share.

Funds from operations are typically the closest watched measure of REITs because it takes into account net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization. Its funds in the third quarter were $190.5 million, with the same per share value as the fourth quarter. 

Essex said it had net income of $195.6 million, or $2.98 per share, in the fourth quarter. Its total revenue of $329 million in that period was off from seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research that expected revenue of $330 million. 

Its holdings in San Diego County equaled a 6.3 percent increase of gross revenues in the last three months of 2016 compared to the same time last year for same-property operations — more than Los Angeles and Orange counties and other parts of California. Its holdings in Ventura County saw the biggest gross revenue growth at 6.6 percent. 

In the fourth quarter, roughly 5,000 San Diego County apartments brought in $27.4 million in gross revenue. 

Overall, properties in Los Angeles and Orange counties still brought in more in gross revenues. San Diego County’s fourth quarter revenue made up 21.4 percent of Essex’s Southern California gross revenues, or 9.6 percent of all its holdings.

Year to date, Essex gathered $107 million from San Diego County apartments. It charged an average monthly rent of $1,767 in 2016.

Essex, based in San Mateo, has ownership interests in 244 apartment communities throughout California and metro Seattle. It is a publicly-traded residential real estate investment trust, or REIT. 

In its news release, Essex acknowledged rent growth will likely slow down in the start of the year because of an increase of new apartments coming on the market. 

“As we look to 2017, we expect rent growth to moderate to long-term averages in the Essex portfolio,” said Essex CEO Michael Schall in a statement. “Our expectations assume that the U.S.economy will continue to generate slow yet steady growth, and our targeted coastal urban and suburban markets will continue to outperform the nation, although less dramatically as compared to the past several years.”

R&V Management, based in Mission Valley, is the biggest landlord in San Diego County with roughly 8,000 units. The Irvine Company, based in Newport Beach, is second with more than 6,000 units. 

Essex has ownership in 20 apartment complexes in the county, including Mission Hills Apartments in Oceanside, Form 15 in San Diego and Shadow Point Apartments in Spring Valley. 

The stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $223.08 Friday, down  $3.26. 

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

phillip.molnar@sduniontribune.com (619) 293-1891 Twitter: @phillipmolnar

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