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EDR > SEC Filings for EDR > Form 10-Q on 6-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for EDUCATION REALTY TRUST, INC.

Form 10-Q for EDUCATION REALTY TRUST, INC.


6-Nov-2012

Quarterly Report


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q ("Report") and the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto and Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Certain statements contained in this Report are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including but not limited to statements related to plans for future acquisitions, our business and investment strategy, market trends and projected capital expenditures. When used in this Report, the words "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "estimate, "would," "could," "should," and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect our opinions only as of the date of this Report. We assume no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. For further information about these and other factors that could affect our future results, please see the "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and "Part II, Item 1A. Risk Factors" below. Investors are cautioned that any forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements.

All references to "we," "our," "us," "EdR," "Trust" and the "Company" in this Report mean Education Realty Trust, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, except where it is made clear that the term means only Education Realty Trust, Inc.

Overview

We are a self-managed and self-advised real estate investment trust ("REIT") engaged in the ownership, acquisition and management of high-quality collegiate housing communities. We also provide collegiate housing management and development consulting services to universities, charitable foundations and other third parties. We believe that we are one of the largest private owners, developers and managers of high-quality collegiate housing communities in the United States in terms of total beds both owned and under management.

We earn income from rental payments we receive as a result of our ownership of collegiate housing communities. We also earn income by performing property management services and development/construction management consulting services for third parties through our Management Company and our Development Company, respectively.

We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for federal income tax purposes.

Our Business Segments

We define business segments by their distinct customer base and the service provided. Management has identified three reportable segments: collegiate housing leasing, development consulting services and management services. We evaluate each segment's performance based on net operating income, which is defined as income before depreciation, amortization, ground leases, impairment losses, interest expense (income), gains (losses) on extinguishment of debt, equity in earnings of unconsolidated entities, noncontrolling interests and discontinued operations. The accounting policies of the reportable segments are described in more detail in the summary of significant accounting policies in the footnotes to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements.

Collegiate housing leasing

Collegiate housing leasing revenue represented approximately 96.8% of our total revenues, excluding operating expense reimbursements, for the nine months ended September 30, 2012. Unlike multi-family housing where apartments are leased by the unit, collegiate-housing communities are typically leased by the bed on an individual lease liability basis. Individual lease liability limits each resident's liability to his or her own rent without liability for a roommate's rent. The number of lease contracts that we administer is therefore typically equivalent to the number of beds occupied rather than the number of apartment units occupied. A parent or guardian is required to execute each lease as a guarantor unless the resident provides adequate proof of income and/or pays a deposit, which is usually equal to two months rent.

Due to our predominantly private bedroom accommodations and individual lease liability, the high level of student-oriented amenities and the fact that most units are furnished and typically rent includes utilities, cable television and internet service, we believe our communities in most cases can command higher per-unit and per-square foot rental rates than most multi-family


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communities in the same geographic markets. We are also typically able to command higher rental rates than on-campus collegiate housing, which tends to offer fewer amenities.

The majority of our leases commence mid-August and terminate the last day of July. These dates generally coincide with the commencement of the universities' fall academic term and the completion of the subsequent summer school session. As such, we are required to re-lease each community in its entirety each year, resulting in significant turnover in our tenant population from year to year. In 2011 and 2010, approximately 72.6% and 70.0%, respectively, of our leased beds were to students who were first-time residents at our communities. As a result, we are highly dependent upon the effectiveness of our marketing and leasing efforts during the annual leasing season that typically begins in November and ends in August of each year. Our communities' occupancy rates are therefore typically stable during the August to July academic year but are susceptible to fluctuation at the commencement of each new academic year.

Prior to the commencement of each new lease period, mostly during the first two weeks of August but also during September at some communities, we prepare the units for new incoming tenants. Other than revenue generated by in-place leases for returning tenants, we do not generally recognize lease revenue during this period referred to as "Turn" as we have no leases in place. In addition, we incur significant expenses during Turn to make our units ready for occupancy. These expenses are recognized when incurred. This Turn period results in seasonality in our operating results during the third quarter of each year.

Development consulting services

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, revenue from our development consulting services represented approximately 0.7% of our total revenues, excluding operating expense reimbursements. We provide development consulting services primarily to colleges and universities seeking to modernize their on-campus collegiate housing communities, to other third-party investors and to our collegiate housing leasing segment in order to develop communities for our ownership. Our development consulting services typically include the following:

market analysis and evaluation of collegiate housing needs and options;

cooperation with college or university in architectural design;

negotiation of ground lease, development agreement, construction contract, architectural contract and bond documents;

oversight of architectural design process;

coordination of governmental and university plan approvals;

oversight of construction process;

design, purchase and installation of furniture;

pre-opening marketing to students; and

obtaining final approvals of construction.

Fees for these services are typically 3-5% of the total cost of a project and are payable over the life of the construction period, which in most cases is one to two years in length. Occasionally, the development consulting contracts include a provision whereby the Trust can participate in project savings resulting from successful cost management efforts. These revenues are recognized once all contractual terms have been satisfied and no future performance requirements exist. This typically occurs after construction is complete. As part of the development agreements, there are certain costs we pay on behalf of universities or third-party investors. These costs are included in reimbursable operating expenses and are required to be reimbursed to us by the universities or third-party investors. We recognize the expense and revenue related to these reimbursements when incurred. These operating expenses are wholly reimbursable and therefore not considered by management when analyzing the operating performance of our development consulting services business.

Management services

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, revenue from our management services segment represented approximately 2.5% of our total revenues, excluding operating expense reimbursements. We provide management services for collegiate housing communities owned by educational institutions, charitable foundations, the Trust and others. Our management services typically cover all aspects of community operations, including residence life and student development, marketing, leasing administration, strategic relationships, information systems and accounting services. We provide these services pursuant to


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multi-year management agreements under which management fees are typically 3-5% of leasing revenue. These agreements usually have an initial term of two to five years with renewal options of like terms. As part of the management agreements, there are certain payroll and related expenses that we pay on behalf of the property owners. These costs are included in reimbursable operating expenses and are required to be reimbursed to us by the property owners. We recognize the expense and revenue related to these reimbursements when incurred. These operating expenses are wholly reimbursable and therefore not considered by management when analyzing the operating performance of our management services business.

Trends and Outlook

Rents and occupancy

We manage our communities to maximize revenues, which are primarily driven by two components: rental rates and occupancy rates. We customarily adjust rental rates in order to maximize revenues, which in some cases results in a lower occupancy rate, but in most cases results in stable or increasing revenue from the community. As a result, a decrease in occupancy may be offset by an increase in rental rates and vice versa and may not be material to our operations. Periodically, certain of our markets experience increases in new on-campus collegiate housing provided by colleges and universities and off-campus collegiate housing provided by private owners. This additional collegiate housing both on and off campus can create competitive pressure on our rental rates and occupancy.

Our communities' occupancy rates are typically stable during the August to July academic year but are susceptible to fluctuation at the commencement of each new academic year. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, same-community revenue per available bed increased to $440 and same-community physical occupancy decreased to 90.4%, compared to revenue per available bed of $417 and physical occupancy of 91.1% for the nine months ended September 30, 2011. The results represent averages for the Trust's portfolio, which are not necessarily indicative of every community in the portfolio. Individual communities can and do perform both above and below these averages, and, at times, an individual community may experience a decline in total revenue due to local university and economic conditions. Our management focus is to assess these situations and address them quickly in an effort to minimize the Trust's exposure and reverse any negative trends.

Our last two leasing cycles produced same store revenue growth of nearly 5.0% in 2010 and over 7.0% in 2011. Same-community opening occupancy for the 2012/2013 lease term was 90.5% as compared to 94.7% for the 2012/2011 lease term. Net rental rates for the 2012/2013 lease term increased approximately 5.1% over the prior lease term, thus producing overall same store revenue growth of approximately 1.0% over the prior lease term. The decline in occupancy for the 2012/2013 lease term is primarily attributable to 5 communities that were impacted by local factors, including modest declines in university enrollment.

Development consulting services

The Trust has historically earned more than $5.0 million annually in third-party development revenue. However, as a result of a deterioration in the credit markets, which began in late 2008, financing of new projects became harder to obtain, and the Trust's third-party development revenue declined from $8.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 to $2.5 million in 2010 and then rebounded to $4.1 million in 2011. Despite the increase in 2011, the Trust currently expects 2012 development revenue to be as low as $1.1 million. Beginning in the summer of 2010, our development team began seeing improvement in the credit markets and an increase in interest from colleges and universities that are considering new collegiate housing. We also continue to receive requests for proposals on new development projects. This improvement in the development consulting market is evidenced by the Trust's active development projects, the completion of our participating development during the second quarter of 2012, the completion of two third-party developments in the first quarter of 2012 and the award of a new third-party development at Clarion University of Pennsylvania in the second quarter of 2012.

We develop collegiate housing communities for our ownership, and we plan to increase self-development activity going forward. The On-Campus Equity Plan, or The ONE Plan SM, is our private equity program for universities, which allows universities to use the Trust's equity and financial stability to develop and revitalize campus housing while preserving their credit capacity for other campus projects. This program is designed to provide the Trust's equity to solve a university's housing needs through a ground lease structure where the Trust owns the land improvements and operates the community. Others in the industry have a similar program and to date the Trust has four ONE Plan SM projects completed or underway. In December 2011, we were selected by the University of Kentucky (UK) to develop, own and manage a multi-phase project aimed at revitalizing UK's on-campus housing which could potentially include the addition of 9,000 beds within five to seven years utilizing the ONE PlanSM. Construction on New Central Residence Hall, the first building in the multi-phase project, is progressing as planned. The 601-bed, two-building, four-story community will be available for occupancy in the summer of


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2013. In October 2012, the Trust received approval from the UK board of trustees and signed definitive agreements for Phase II of the project. Phase II of the project will include four communities with 2,317 beds and a total project cost of approximately $133.7 million. All four communities are expected to open in the summer of 2014. We view our entry into the partnership with UK as a defining moment, not only for EdR, but also for our industry. Most state universities face many of the same challenges as UK, including reduced support from constrained state budgets, aged on-campus housing and demands on institutional funds for academic and support services. This declining state support for higher education is the norm rather than the exception. These external factors provide a great opportunity for our company. The volume of discussions we are having with other universities has increased over the last year as additional universities investigate this type of structure to replace their aging on-campus housing stock. We expect the volume of true third-party development contracts to be impacted as more universities avail themselves of this new program.

While considering the possible shift in the type of projects universities pursue, the amount and timing of future revenue from development consulting services will be contingent upon our ability to successfully compete in public colleges and universities' competitive procurement processes, our ability to successfully structure financing of these projects and our ability to ensure completion of construction within committed timelines and budgets. To date, we have completed construction on all of our development consulting projects in time for their targeted occupancy dates.

Collegiate housing operating costs

The Trust implemented focused cost control measures in late 2008 that drove a same-community operating expense decline of 4.6% for the year ended December 31, 2009 and helped keep operating expenses relatively flat during 2010. During the year ended December 31, 2011, same-community operating expenses increased approximately 2.9% compared to the year ended December 31, 2010, which included a 2.2% increase in direct operating expenses and a 5.9% increase in fixed costs primarily as a result of tax refunds received in 2010. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, same-community operating expenses increased approximately 2.0% compared to the same period in the prior year which is in line with our expectation and a reasonable level of growth for the foreseeable future.

General and administrative costs

Historically, we have presented all general and administrative ("G&A") costs, including regional and corporate costs of supporting our communities, in G&A in our consolidated statement of operations. Beginning with the three months ended March 31, 2012, we began reporting the costs to manage our owned portfolio as part of our collegiate housing operating costs and not as part of G&A costs, and previous periods presented have been reclassified for consistent presentation and comparability (see Note 2 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements). We believe the new presentation improves comparability within the industry and provides a better reflection of the total cost to operate a property as we do not include management fees in our property operating expenses. G&A costs for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 were $5.3 million, before development pursuit costs and acquisition costs, an increase of $0.9 million, or 20.3%, when compared to the same period in the prior year. This increase is largely due to costs associated with the growth of our owned collegiate housing portfolio, the growth in our owned development activity and normal inflationary pressures.

Asset Repositioning and Capital Recycling

We continue to reposition and improve our owned portfolio as follows:

In 2010 and 2011, we sold twelve communities for a combined sales price of $112.8 million. These communities were located at mostly smaller universities with limited barriers to entry (see Note 8 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements);

In 2011, we purchased $256 million of assets within walking distance of universities such as the University of Virginia, University of California-Berkeley, Notre Dame, Texas Christian University and St. Louis University (see Note 7 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements);

In 2012, we sold two communities, NorthPointe serving the University of Arizona and The Reserve on Frankford serving Texas Tech University, for net cash proceeds of approximately $42.3 million (See Note 8 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements);

In the third quarter of 2012, we purchase the collegiate housing community referred to as The Province, adjacent to the campus of East Carolina University, for $50.0 million in cash (see Note 7 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements), and in October 2012 we purchased The District on 5th, within walking distance of the University of Arizona, for $67.0 million in cash and Campus Village, adjacent to Michigan State University, for $20.9 million in cash (see Note 10 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements);

We currently have seven active owned developments with our share of aggregate development costs of $343.4 million


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within walking distance of universities such as Arizona State University, University of Connecticut, University of Mississippi and directly on the campuses of University of Kentucky and the University of Texas at Austin (see note 7 to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements);
We have improved our portfolio's median distance to edge of campus to 0.2 miles; and

We have increased our average rental rate by 20% to $562 per bed.

We believe these transactions have allowed the Trust to recycle capital from non-strategic assets to vibrant, younger collegiate communities at larger universities. We believe these steps have improved the quality of the Trust's portfolio and have positioned the Trust for better long-term growth potential.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("GAAP") requires management to make estimates and assumptions in certain circumstances that affect amounts reported in our financial statements and related notes. In preparing these financial statements, management has utilized all available information, including its past history, industry standards and the current economic environment, among other factors, in forming its estimates and judgments of certain amounts included in the financial statements, giving due consideration to materiality. The ultimate outcome anticipated by management in formulating its estimates may not be realized. Application of the critical accounting policies below involves the exercise of judgment and use of assumptions as to future uncertainties and, as a result, actual results could differ from these estimates. In addition, other companies in similar businesses may utilize different estimation policies and methodologies, which may impact the comparability of our results of operations and financial condition to those companies.

Collegiate housing leasing revenue recognition

Collegiate housing leasing revenue is comprised of all revenues related to the leasing activities at our collegiate housing communities and includes revenues from leasing apartments by the bed, food services, parking space rentals and certain ancillary services.

Students are required to execute lease contracts with payment schedules that vary from per semester to monthly. Generally, a parental guarantee must accompany each executed contract. Receivables are recorded when due, while leasing revenue and related lease incentives/concessions and nonrefundable application and service fees are recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the contracts. Balances are considered past due when payment is not received on the contractual due date. Allowances for doubtful accounts are established by management when it is determined that collection is doubtful.

Revenue and cost recognition of development consulting services

Costs associated with the pursuit of third-party development consulting contracts are expensed as incurred until such time as we have been notified of a contract award or reimbursement has been otherwise guaranteed by the customer. At such time, the reimbursable portion of such costs is recorded as a receivable. Development consulting revenues are recognized using the percentage of completion method as determined by construction costs incurred relative to the total estimated construction costs. Occasionally, our development consulting contracts include a provision whereby we can participate in project savings resulting from our successful cost management efforts. We recognize these revenues once all contractual terms have been satisfied and we have no future performance requirements. This typically occurs after construction is complete. Costs associated with development consulting services are expensed as incurred. We generally receive a significant percentage of our fees for development consulting services upon closing of the project financing, a portion of the fee over the construction period and the balance upon substantial completion of construction. Because revenue from these services is recognized for financial reporting purposes utilizing the percentage of completion method, differences occur between amounts received and revenues recognized. Differences also occur between amounts recognized for tax purposes and those recognized for financial reporting purposes.

We also periodically enter into joint venture arrangements whereby we provide development consulting services to third-party collegiate housing owners in an agency capacity. We recognize our portion of the earnings in each joint venture based on our ownership interest, which is reflected after net operating income in our condensed consolidated statement of operations as equity in earnings of unconsolidated entities. Our revenue and operating expenses could fluctuate from period to period based on the extent to which we utilize joint venture arrangements to provide third-party development consulting services.

Collegiate housing property acquisitions and dispositions

Land, land improvements, buildings and improvements and furniture, fixtures and equipment are recorded at cost. Buildings


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and improvements are depreciated over 15 to 40 years, land improvements are depreciated over 15 years and furniture, fixtures and equipment are depreciated over 3 to 7 years. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method for financial reporting purposes.

Results of operations for acquired collegiate housing communities are included in the Trust's results of operations from the respective dates of acquisition. Appraisals, estimates of cash flows and valuation techniques are used to allocate the purchase price of acquired property between land, land improvements, buildings and improvements, furniture, fixtures and equipment and identifiable intangibles such as amounts related to in-place leases. The Trust recognizes pre-acquisition costs, which include legal and professional fees and other third-party costs directly related to the acquisition of a community, when they are incurred.

Management assesses impairment of long-lived assets to be held and used whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Management uses an estimate of future undiscounted cash flows of the related asset based on its intended use to determine whether the carrying value is recoverable. If the Trust determines that the carrying value of an asset is not recoverable, the fair value of the asset is estimated and an impairment loss is recorded to the extent the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value. Management estimates fair value using discounted cash flow models, market appraisals if available, and other market participant data.

When a collegiate housing community has met the criteria to be classified as held for sale, the fair value less cost to sell such asset is estimated. If fair . . .

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