In 2013, many senior housing investors added overseas properties to their portfolios. Health Care REIT, Inc., expanded its footprint by investing in 47 Canadian senior care and housing communities and added to its presence in the United Kingdom.
In another deal, Medical Properties Trust (MPT) acquired 11 rehabilitation properties in Germany following a year of negotiations, MPT Senior Managing Director Frank Williams, Jr. told REIT.com. Although MPT’s profile is heavily focused on U.S-domicile hospital assets, Williams explains that the company “liked the stability in the system in Germany, and we were able to find…a fantastic set of assets to purchase.”
Europe is experiencing the same general demographic trends as the United States, according to Daniel Bernstein, an analyst at Stifel Nicklaus & Company, Inc. “There’s still a very large market for health care REITs to grow over the next decade,” he told REIT.com.
Difficulties come with operating outside of Europe and Canada, however, notes Jeff Walraven, assurance partner in the real estate practice and BDO USA, LLP. In China, he emphasizes, REITS need to create strong local relationships to ensure access to the central government. He cites India as another example. According to Walraven, India needs healthcare facilities, but U.S. REITs have lost interest because of the difficulty in working with the government.