Banking Relationships and REIT Capital Structure

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Abstract

This article examines the evolution of real estate investment trust (REIT) capital structure in the new REIT era with a focus on the effects of banking relationships on REIT capital structure. Using a unique sample of REITs from 1992 to 2003, we find that, after controlling for firm characteristics, REITs with banking relationships are more likely to obtain long-term debt ratings and subsequently issue public debt. Moreover, REITs with banking relationships tend to use less secured debt and have lower leverage. These findings support the notion that banking relationships facilitate REITs' access to the public debt markets and help explain why REITs shift from traditional mortgage financing to bank debt and public capital market financing. The results also support the proposition that firm leverage should be positively related to the amount of a firm's secured debt.

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