Australian based real estate investor, the GPT Group, is feeling the effects of the strain of the global housing & credit market when it showed a $3 billion dollar loss for 2008. This is a different take from when GPT acquired and interest in Benchmark Assisted Living and a portfolio of New England assisted living properties in 2006. The company has and continues to express its desire to divest of its senior housing assets that it acquired in the United States. As of year-end 2008, occupancy across its 34-asset portfolio was 88.1% with an average rent per unit per month of $5,100 up from $4,800 at 2007. Peter Joseph, the company’s outgoing chairman wrote in his 2008 shareholder letter stated that the company was refocusing its strategy on Australia and will be exiting its U.S. seniors housing business. While Mr. Joseph stated that they wish to exit the market, he gave no time table or inclination as to who, what, when or how this exit will take place. Most likely it will take someone that can either pay cash (deep pockets) or GPT will have to wait until someone can find financing for the acquisition.
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