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Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:WRE)
Q2 2020 Earnings Call
Jul 29, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome to the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]Before turning the call over to the President, Chief Executive Officer, Paul McDermott; Amy Hopkins, Vice President of Investor Relations, will provide some introductory information.

Amy, please go ahead.

Amy Hopkins -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. Before we begin, please note that forward-looking statements may be made during this discussion. Such statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including those related to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which may cause actual results to differ materially, and we undertake no duty to update them as actual events unfold. We refer to certain of these risks in our SEC filings.

Reconciliations of the GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures discussed on this call are available in our most recent earnings press release and financial supplement, which were distributed yesterday and can be found on the Investor Relations page of our website. Participating in today's call with me will be Paul McDermott, President and Chief Executive Officer; Steve Riffee, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Karen Filter, Senior Vice President and General Counsel; Drew Hammond, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer; and Graham Montgomery, Vice President and Head of Research.

Now I'd like to turn the call over to Paul.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Amy, and good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us on our second quarter earnings call. We delivered strong second quarter financial performance against the backdrop of the ongoing economic disruption, highlighting the resilience of our portfolio. As the local economy gradually reopens, our primary focus continues to center around the health and safety of our residents, tenants, employees and their families. Over the past several months, WashREIT created and implemented a comprehensive reentry plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at our properties. We connected with our office tenants through personalized outreach to understand their needs and discuss our approach to make sure that they are comfortable with the protocols that we have implemented. We are fortunate to have not experienced material bad debt to date in alongside reentry planning, we've been diligently working with tenants who have been financially impacted by the economic shutdown to discuss and finalize deferral arrangements.

As of today, we are pleased to report that we have substantially completed that effort. There is no doubt that these are trying times. However, we have adjusted to the new demands of today's operating environment and have taken swift and deliberate action to protect and support our residents and tenants. I could not be more proud of the dedication shown by the WashREIT team during this challenging period. Furthermore, these times have highlighted the importance of social fairness, equity and justice. And our company has responded with a refocused commitment to improving diversity, inclusion and belonging within our company and our community and creating long-lasting positive change. As we enter the second half of the year, we are increasingly confident in the resilience of our region and likewise, our portfolio. Our Washington metro focus provides economic stability compared to other major metropolitan areas. This is true both historically and during the current downturn.

As the Washington metro area continues to experience fewer job losses since the pandemic hit than other large metro areas and the U.S. overall. Washington Metro employment declined 9% during the second quarter compared to over 11% for the U.S. overall. A recent analysis completed by Delta Associates determined that the Washington multifamily market is better positioned to weather a down cycle than nearly all of the nation's other large metropolitan areas. This is due in large part to the presence of the federal government and the corresponding stability of the professional business services sector, which together comprised 46% of the D.C. metro economy compared to 25% for the 30 largest metro areas. Furthermore, our professional business services sector is more heavily weighted toward the professional, scientific and technical subsector, which has fared very well during this crisis and generated year-over-year job growth of 1.6% in June. This sector is expected to bounce back much quicker than other sectors and continues to be the primary private job creation source in the region over the long term, according to Delta Associates. Unsurprisingly, the federal government sector has been the least negatively impacted by the pandemic thus far. Many federal agencies actually received funding a funding boost, which could lead to additional hiring, especially at critical agencies such as the FDA, NIH and FDA.

Government contractors have seen $1.2 billion in contracts awarded year-to-date that are directly tied to the COVID-19 response, according to JLL. Employment trends for the regional information sector reflect limited disruption and major tech industry investments, including Amazon's HQ2 campus construction and Virginia Tech yard campus. Continuing without disruption. The Washington metro area led the country in Q2 leasing activity, driven by 1.6 million square feet of positive net absorption in Northern Virginia. Despite the stay-at-home orders, office leasing activity in Northern Virginia declined only 12% in the second quarter compared to the five-year trailing quarterly average, according to CBRE. Over half of the leasing activity in Northern Virginia was driven by government contracting services. Government contractor awards are up 4% year-over-year due to the government's response to COVID-19. Check and government contracting for 60% of our office leasing volume in Northern Virginia last year. And looking forward, we expect demand from these sectors to continue to grow. Unsurprisingly, Washington D.C. office leasing activity has slowed more than it did in Northern Virginia due to lower momentum leading into this downturn. However, the impact of local job losses for office using sectors in D.C. has been limited.

With no office using sector losing more than 5% of the total workforce during the second quarter, according to BLS data. Additionally, the number of tours increased substantially in July. We expect our D.C. office portfolio to act defensively against this backdrop. Maryland, Virginia and D.C. each took a phased approach to reentry beginning at the end of May. D.C. and Maryland are currently in Phase two with limited reopenings of shops and restaurants, and Virginia is in Phase 3, which has allowed all retail and public services to resume with social distancing measures in place. With the implementation of Phase two reentry protocols, we are seeing increased activity across all of our asset classes. Multifamily touring and application volumes have increased threefold from early April for both our same-store and non-same-store assets and same-store applications are trending above prior year levels. Following the closure of our leasing office, we took advantage of our virtual touring capabilities and continued leasing in April and May.

And once social distancing requirements were eased locally, we began offering self-guided tours in June. Just recently, we have opened our multifamily amenities in common areas and started offering in-person tours with additional safety precautions. Lease-up of Trove continues to progress and is expected to reach stabilized occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2021. While the economic shutdown has impacted the original expected pace of leases, we averaged approximately 16 leases per month during the second quarter and expect to reach breakeven levels of occupancy by year-end, followed by steady quarterly NOI growth thereafter. Our total lease rate growth for the quarter was a positive 40 basis points, which, combined with our sequential decline in ending occupancy of less than 80 basis points to our stabilized properties demonstrates the resilience of our value-oriented multifamily portfolio. Lease rates for our non-same-store portfolio, which includes strong performance from our Class B suburban communities, grew over 2% during the quarter on a blended basis, comprised of 2.6% of renewal lease rate growth and 1% of new lease rate growth.

Our suburban garden-style apartments offer larger unit sizes, open-air hallways and less density compared to mid or high-rise buildings, allowing us to participate in the increasing demand for these qualities over the near-term in the wake of the pandemic. Over the long term, the expansion of our multifamily portfolio to growing suburban markets in the D.C. metro suburbs positions us to capture an increasing share of regional household formation and job growth. We began to experience an uptick in utilization at all of our office properties toward the end of the quarter, although, most notably at our Northern Virginia office assets, as Northern Virginia is now in Phase three of reopening. In preparation for the repopulation of our properties, we prepared a detailed property reentry plan that emphasizes employee and tenant health and well-being as top priorities. We have reached out to our tenants to discuss the plans and protocols that we have put in place. The feedback regarding our collaborative approach has been very positive, and in many cases, we strengthened our relationships with our tenants.

We've upgraded our office buildings to ventilation filters, which is the standard for superior commercial office buildings, installed directional safety practice signage, contactless opening technology and proactive shield around front office desk in addition to a variety of other measures taken to facilitate safe reentry. We have also established enhanced cleaning protocols that include more frequent cleaning and the use of electrostatic cleaning sheets and have developed elevator and common area safety protocols designed to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. Our tenant experience app, NU, which began rolling out in January, has kept us connected with many of our tenants despite working remotely. The Concierge program has continued to provide a wide range of on-demand services and partner with local vendors and farmers to provide grocery and other essential deliveries. We could not have picked a more critical time to roll out this technology to assist our tenants both professionally and personally during this challenging time.

Our Space+ program has allowed us to meet changing tenant needs more efficiently with flexible lease terms. Our spaces offer tenants quick move-ins all in pricing, flexibility for short and long-term planning as well as privacy and independence, not just for brand building, but now more importantly than ever for control over the health of the tenant's office. All of our Space+ tenants have control over their own private space, which is becoming increasingly important in this COVID-19 environment. In an environment where many tenants are moving slower on larger and longer requirements, flexibility is key, and Space+ is playing a crucial role in meeting tenant needs. We entered 2020, expecting to see sequential quarterly growth, driven by renovation-led value creation and commercial lease commencements. While the pandemic has disrupted the timing of that growth, our key growth drivers remain intact. In multifamily, we have positioned our portfolio to retain the growth drivers but we may capture that value for our shareholders as normal activities and opportunities return.

We've allocated capital to Class B properties in submarkets with wider than average gaps between Class A and Class B rents and limited competitive supply, which sets us up for a quick recovery and preserve the value-add rent growth from renovations for the future. Through our 2019 strategic allocation, we increased our renovation pipeline to over 3,000 units, which represents five years of growth at compelling return on costs. While most of our portfolio does not directly compete with new supply, deliveries in Northern Virginia, where 80% of our multifamily portfolio is located, are expected to decrease by 24% over the next 12 months. Furthermore, the pandemic will likely cause delays in projected construction starts in the second half of 2020, which will reduce the number of deliveries in 2022 and into 2023. And overall, there is an acute housing shortage in the Washington metro region and our in-house research affirms our confidence that growth opportunities are still ahead of us.

We also have a tremendous opportunity for growth, having substantially made the capital outlay for Trove with Phase two delivering in a couple of months. While the disruption certainly changed the initial pace of lease up, we expect to reach a breakeven occupancy level in the fourth quarter and thereafter achieve quarterly sequential NOI growth through stabilization in 2021 and into 2022. We in the office portfolio, our embedded growth is comprised of future commencements for high-quality space and value-oriented pricing and move-in ready space with flexible lease terms. We expect signed leases to continue to occupy, and we expect to benefit from higher occupancy in the fourth quarter and throughout 2021.

Many of our speculative leasing opportunities, for which we had excellent momentum before the pandemic hit, are located in our best assets, including Watergate 600, Arlington Tower and Silverline center as well as our Space+ program, which is positioned well to meet demand in these early, cautious transition months. While physical touring did pause, it is now resuming, although decision-making remains slower than normal wire entry is being more pure by prospective tenants. We believe those leasing opportunities are a matter of when, not if, they will commence.

And with that, I'd like to turn it over to Steve to review our collection performance, balance sheet, second quarter results and our outlook.

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Paul, and good morning, everyone. I'll start off by discussing our cash collection performance before reviewing our second quarter results and outlook for the remainder of 2020. Our multifamily collections continue to be very strong, which is a testament to the resilience of our submarkets and industry mix and lower average rent-to-income ratio of 26%. We collected over 99% of cash rents during the second quarter and over 99% of contractual rents. And our rent collections through the first three weeks of July have been strong also. While we are offering deferred payment programs to residents who've been financially impacted by the pandemic to date, deferrals have been relatively low, representing less than 0.4% of total monthly rental income on average. Our monthly multifamily collection performance continues to track above national averages. We collected 99% of cash rents in June compared to 96% per NMHC.

We attribute our outperformance in part to high exposure to industries that have outperformed during this crisis and lower relative exposure to underperforming industries. The impact of COVID-19 on the Washington metro market has been contained primarily to three sectors, representing approximately 75% of Washington metro job losses. While the impact has been more broadly spread across a wider range of sectors in the U.S. overall. As those same three sectors represented less than 60% of total losses nationally through June. Thus, the U.S. overall is experiencing job losses that are spread across more industries than our region. The Washington metro market's relative strength reflects the stability in business revenue provided by technology and federal contracting. We track the industries our residents are employed in, and our exposure is most heavily weighted to the most resilient economic sectors and likewise, less weighted to the industries that have been most impacted, which has resulted in very high collection rates and stable cash flows.

Turning to office. We collected 97% of cash rents during the second quarter and over 99% of contractual rents, which excludes rent that has been deferred. As of July 22, our collections for July are in line with the same period in June. Similar to our multifamily resident industry minutes, our office tenants are relatively weighted to the stronger economic sectors than the U.S. overall, which has helped us experience limited bad debt thus far. We have agreed to defer $1.2 million of rent for office tenants, and we expect to collect over 85% of that deferred rent by year-end 2021 with the balance thereafter. We believe our efforts to substantially derisk our portfolio by selling all single-tenant office assets and 75% of our prior retail exposure, including all of the power centers, and reallocating that capital to our multifamily portfolio is certainly proving its value in these economic times. Retail now comprises just 6% of NOI and while retail tenants have struggled the most, we collected 72% of retail rents in the second quarter. Excluding deferred rent, our collection rate was approximately 90% during the second quarter and 91% during the first three weeks of July. Year-to-date, we've only incurred approximately $770,000 of bad debt expense related to retail tenants and $638,000 of that was related to covet 2019.

We will continue to monitor their strength and ability as the economy progresses. We've agreed to defer approximately $1 million of rent for retail tenants, and we expect to collect over 50% of that rent by year-end 2021. This assumes that our region continues to gradually reopen through year-end. To date, we've not incurred material bad debts related to COVID-19. Overall, we have only deferred a small portion of rent and the expected cash NOI impact is less than $0.01 per share through year-end 2021. While we have possibly experienced the most disruptive part of the pandemic, uncertainty regarding its duration and future impact remains. We currently believe the second quarter represented the most challenging quarter. However, future and ongoing economic disruption could result in bad debt greater than what we've incurred to date. We will continue to monitor future developments and proactively address them as they occur. Turning to the balance sheet. We have a strong liquidity position with approximately $530 million of available liquidity as of June 30, and no significant capital commitments for the balance of the year and no remaining maturities in 2020. As of June 30, our net debt-to-EBITDA ratio was 6.1 times, at the lower end of our targeted range. We prepaid our $250 million 4.95% bonds in early April, and we can go to the capital markets to further term out debt when it makes sense to do so. We expect to remain well within our bank and bond covenants and have access to our mostly undrawn line of credit if needed. Based on our current projections, we have reduced 2020 assumed capital expenditures for the year by approximately $40 million compared to our initial 2020 guidance. Included in this amount is almost $30 million of lower assumed capital expenditures and $11 million in less development spending as we no longer expect to break ground on the Riverside development this year.

Our capital expenditure reductions include nonessential building improvements, tenant improvements and leasing costs, perspective of leasing as well as lower multifamily renovation capex. I our future multifamily renovation pipeline remains intact, although we are suspending the program until after the market disruptions subside. We plan to allocate the renovation capital at a later date when the market allows for rent increases to deliver the appropriate ROI. As we navigate through the second half of the year, we will continue to explore opportunities to further reduce nonessential capex spending to further bolster our liquidity. Looking forward, we feel confident in our ability to execute on our short-term goals of providing payment flexibility to residents and tenants in need while retaining the operational flexibility necessary to execute our long-term goals. As Paul mentioned, we posted a solid second quarter despite the challenging operating environment. I will discuss those results before addressing our future outlook. We reported core FFO of $0.39 per diluted share. Overall, same-store NOI declined 4.5% year-over-year on a GAAP basis and 3.5% on a cash basis, due to the same-store office NOI decline of 4.8% on a GAAP basis and 3.7% on a cash basis as well as bad debt expenses related to COVID-19 of approximately $720,000. The same-store office NOI decline was driven by expected decline in parking income as well as an increase in bad debt expenses related to COVID-19.

Excluding the decline in parking income and the increase in bad debt expenses compared to our prior 2020 expectations, same-store office NOI would have increased slightly on a year-over-year basis. Our multifamily same-store NOI increased by 0.7% year-over-year on a GAAP basis and 0.8% year-over-year on a cash basis. The company achieved 40 basis points of blended year-over-year lease rate growth, driven by strong performance from our suburban assets in our non same-store portfolio. Same-store new lease rates declined by just under 4%, while renewal rates increased by over 1.4%, reflecting blended lease rate decline of approximately 40 basis points. Non-same-store lease rates grew over 2% during the quarter on a blended basis, comprised of 2.6% of renewal lease rate growth and 1% of new lease rate growth.

Our same-store multifamily portfolio is currently approximately 94% occupied, and our total day bag portfolio is over 94% occupied, a 97% leased. Same-store NOI decreased in our residual retail centers, which we report as other, by 24.6% on a GAAP basis and 22.1% on a cash basis, driven primarily by higher credit losses, which included amounts to do from tenants impacted by COVID-19, been likely not collectible. And lower recoveries compared to the prior year period. The combined write-off impact of COVID-19 in the quarter was approximately $560,000, which included straight-line rents and lease intangibles, and the cash impact was approximately $335,000. Turning to leasing activity for the quarter, while velocity and touring was hit by the economic shutdown, we signed approximately 20,000 square feet of new office leases and 15,000 square feet of office renewals in the second quarter. We achieved rental rate increases of 0.8% on a cash basis and negative 2.3% on a cash basis, both for new leases and 19.4% on a GAAP basis and 1.9% on a cash basis for renewals.

The impact of operational cost savings initiatives reduced operating costs by approximately $848,000 during the second quarter, net of tenant recoveries and expense related to preparing our built office buildings for reentry. Second quarter operational cost savings primarily included reduced utility consumption, lower R&M, security expenses and lower tenant event and amenity expenses relative to our original forecast. Now I'd like to discuss our financial outlook. We are now four months into the pandemic. And while we are not in a position to predict the ongoing magnitude of the pandemic or durability of the recovery, we believe that we are able to forecast subject to certain caveats, the impact of COVID-19 for the balance of 2020 on our NOI and interest expense, exclusive of future bad debt. Today, I will describe the impacts that we're experiencing on various financial performance metrics. Our expectations are based on the assumption that the gradual reopening will continue uninterrupted through year-end. Multifamily occupancy dipped to 94% in June and has remained stable through July. With the easing of confinement measures and increased staffing in our leasing offices, we've seen touring and application volumes increase substantially.

Total application volumes have increased by 3 times from early April lows, and same-store applications have trended over 30% above prior year levels since the end of May. We expect the continual increase in leasing volume to drive a gradual increase in occupancy to 95% by year-end. We did not increase rents on 12-plus month renewals and for the second quarter, which impacted our NOI growth as we normally would be achieving significant rent increases during the strong second quarter leasing season, especially since we had such strong lease rate growth in March. As a result, we experienced an increase in renewal retention to 60%. While this higher renewal retention has helped us to maintain occupancy and preserve our seasonal rent roll during these uncertain times, it did not fully offset the impact of occupancy from lower new leasing volumes. Lower new and renewal lease rate growth as well as lower move in and other fee income were partially offset by operating expense savings initiatives during the second quarter. The majority of the expected full year impact of operating expense savings related to COVID-19 was recognized in the second quarter.

Excluding the impact of bad debt, we expect the impact of COVID-19 on our multifamily NOI to translate to a reduction of approximately $0.03 per share relative to our initial core FFO guidance for 2020. Overall, we had previously expected significant multifamily growth in 2020, and that growth is likely now going to be deferred until 2021 and thereafter. As Paul said, we have a five-year pipeline of value-add renovations once conditions improve and it is appropriate to resume such growth. And we still expect future NOI growth from TRO, which I will cover next. Trove is on pace to deliver Phase II in the fourth quarter. Our lease-up had just begun when social distancing measures drew on-site touring to a haul. However, we've been successfully converting virtual tours into signed leases. While virtual touring is having continued success, we expect lease-up to take longer than we have originally guided and will likely to incur a loss of between $600,000 to $700,000 in 2020. Which translates to a negative impact on core FFO relative to our initial guidance of approximately $0.01 per share. As Paul also said, we expect to reach breakeven occupancy near this year-end and to reach stabilization in the fourth quarter of 2021. Therefore, the TRO should not only provide substantial growth in 2021 and but also further year-over-year growth in 2022.

Now moving on to commercial. Tenant improvement build-outs for near-term lease commencements are expected to continue uninterrupted. We have over 55,000 square feet, representing approximately 150 basis points of future increased occupancy of signed leases that have not yet written commenced. Although physical tours had stopped they resume toward the end of the quarter and a substantial increase through July to just below pre COVID-19. Overall decision-making has been slower as the pace of Phase III entry has, in many cases, allowed prospective tenants more time. Additionally, we are in lease extension negotiations with a handful of tenants who were previously expected to vacate. Our previous revenue expectations for 2020 included speculative office lease commencements that have been impacted by the current economic disruption and are now likely to be substantially executed in 2021. The lease is not signed as of today. The majority of this leasing was expected to occur during the third and fourth quarters at high-quality spaces across Watergate 600, Silverline Center, Arlington Tower and Space+. The leasing momentum has been the strongest.

We expect the impact of lower speculative leasing to be only partially offset by higher revenue from lease renewals and extensions. And we have minimal commercial lease expirations for the remainder of 2020, limiting the downside risk of our internal leasing estimates. Office lease expirations represent approximately 4% of our office revenues and less than 2% of our overall revenue. And as many tenants are opting to delay long-term decisions, short-term lease extensions and renewal activity could trend higher as the year progresses. Parking revenue is down as people are not driving to their offices. Our current projection of set parking revenue will decline by over $1.3 million over the remainder of the year. However, that estimate could change if the shutdown is more protracted than we've assumed. Likewise, once the economy returns, we can experience an increase in parking income from higher utilization as tenant transportation preferences shift away from public transportation. We are already seeing signs of increased transient parking at many of our properties.

Currently, we are assuming that we may achieve additional operating cost savings of approximately $750,000 for the balance of the year, assuming a gradual increase in office utilization over the remainder of the year. This amount is net of expenses associated with preparing our bill for reentry and the cost savings that we expect to pass along to our tenants. Excluding future bad debt, we expect the impact of COVID-19 in our office and other NOI to translate to a negative impact of approximately $0.08 per share relative to our initial core FFO guidance for 2020. Most of that impact will occur during the second half of the year as we previously expected a ramp-up in that time frame that we now expect to occur throughout 2021. Offsetting a part of the negative impact of COVID-19 on our business is a reduction in our expectations for interest expense by $0.04 per share relative to our initial core FFO 2020 guidance, excluding any future refinancings to further term out debt. On a combined basis, we expect the impact of COVID-19 on NOI and interest expense to translate to a negative impact of approximately $0.08 per share relative to our initial guidance for 2020.

We are not updating other guidance assumptions at this time. The majority of the impact will occur during the second half of the year as we previously expected a ramp-up in that time frame that we now have expected to incur throughout 2021. Overall, we're actually slightly ahead of our original budget for the first six months of 2020, despite going through a historically challenging four-month period. As we just explained, much of the growth we had planned for the second half of 2020 appears to be deferred, but we believe still intact for the future.

And with that, I will now turn the call back over to Paul.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Steve. In closing, while we are operating in a challenging environment, we are confident in our ability to effectively manage through this period of uncertainty while preserving the embedded growth of our assets. Our value-oriented portfolio has demonstrated resilience as we absorb the near-term impact, which is further underscored by our strong rent collection performance and the proven stability of the Washington metro economy. Furthermore, our sustained multifamily lease rate growth and stabilizing occupancy trends highlight the value of our research-driven capital allocation strategy, which has led us to invest in well-located residential units that will be in the path of growth once the economy resumes.

Now we would like to open the call to answer your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Anthony Paolone with JPMorgan. Please see with your question.

Anthony Paolone -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Thank you and good morning. My first question is with regards to the multifamily portfolio. Can you give us a sense as to what's happened to market rents in the last say, a month or two or where your new lease spreads are trending right now?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tony, it's Paul. I would say market rents right now. I mean, we're just in the overall portfolio, we're seeing concessions rise in the market, but not materially. The market has become more concessioners, properties kind of open up. And I'll just give you an example throughout our portfolio, depending on the respective submarket we've seen concessions range from $250 to one month. And the largest concessions we're seeing are really at Trove. And that the market's moved from one month to two months free. We're also offering up to three months for a 24-month deal at the Trove. I don't see that materially changing in the future. And in terms of spreads...

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I would say, Tony, we did pretty well in the second quarter. We are on renewals, we've now started in August, increasing rates on renewals for 12 months plus leases that we were holding flat. We're doing OK on new lease rates in recent weeks. Although I will say, for us, we're going to emphasize holding occupancy and keeping our lease maturity ladder intact. So we might have a little bit of trade-off on new leases. So maybe in the most current month, they lend to a slightly negative of new on renewals. But we feel they're holding very well. And we've done when we look at just on a relative basis, we think things are going well.

Anthony Paolone -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay. And then on the office side, any I know there's not a ton of volume, but any color on what's happening there with net effective rents or how those tenants that may be in the market are behaving in terms of what they'd like to see to get a deal done?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tony, I wish I had a better fact pattern to really articulate the second quarter. I would say, overall, what we're seeing in the market in terms of leasing are seeing a lot of short term, a lot of two- to three-year deals with extensions. Definitely seeing a bit of an out migration from co-working. I think in D.C. proper, the activity probably dropped 50% in the second quarter in terms of leasing volume. Thus, I can't really provide you a great track record there. I think the thing that we were probably most impressed about in this region was Northern Virginia, leading the U.S. with 1.6 million square feet absorbed. I would also comment that in July, both in downtown and in Northern Virginia, our traffic and our velocity picked up notably. And we hope that a lot of that will crystallize for us. I'd say, realistically, it's probably post Labor Day. What we're getting from a lot of our tenants when we think there's going to be a lot more decision-makers waiting back in, but we're optimistic about the balance of the year.

Anthony Paolone -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay. And then just last one. Again, I know it's early, but just anything on the investment sales side or any commentary on early indications of price discovery or anything being brought to market?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Let me split that. I'll talk about office and multifamily, Tony. On the office side, very low volume obviously. Interestingly, I've seen some single-tenant credit deals where we see some investors trying to play the spread to fixed income. Seeing a lot of recaps versus selling into this market right now. The key for investors and lenders and the capital markets execution has to be there, but is just the weighted average lease term. And what we're hearing both from lenders and equity folks that are looking for Seven plus years. On that. I think the big challenge right now, we haven't really seen a lot of multitenative buildings come to the market is just the lack of traditional anal buyers. I think the good thing I would observe over the last 90 days and especially talking with the lenders, is there hasn't been any motivation on the lender's part to take a assets back, they are working with deferral plans for their borrowers to try to do some type of bridge. Multifamily, a bit of a different story, obviously, with Fannie and Freddie being aggressively open for business. I think the biggest challenge, and we have seen definitely more multifamily deals hit the market in the last 60 days. And I think just talking to folks a definite notable pickup in BOV activity, probably with the top three brokerage firms in this region. The feedback we get is really the first two years are the challenging underwriting and people are always trying to make up for those first two years. And then people are incorporating, I'd say, 2023, '24, '25. We're seeing rent spikes being implemented between 5% and 8%.

But the convergence really over the last 30 to 60 days, has been around like a five cap. We've seen old deals that probably would it a way pre COVID being dusted off and relooked at and seeing some small off-market activity. But like I said, the debt, some of these folks are getting sub three. So investors are clipping in '08. In D.C., I think the biggest challenge you're going to see in far as turnover and product is, as you're aware, Tony, we have to go through a topo process and you can't submit Topa until October 12, which is where the may extended the state of emergency too. So that's really put tap the brakes there. In Northern Virginia, not seeing any slowdown in the appetite for people with investors still looking at that long-term bet that like the Amazon renter changes the footprint. But both on the commercial side and on the multifamily side, we've gotten plenty of feedback, but there'll be a lot more product moving to the market post Labor Day.

Anthony Paolone -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay, great that's all a great color. Thank you. Thanks, Anthony.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Blaine Heck with Wells Fargo. Please do with your question.

Blaine Heck -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Hey, thanks, good morning. So just a follow-up on my last question. Do you think, Paul, that the fallout from the pandemic ultimately increases the spread between office cap rates that you'll be selling at and the multifamily cap rates that you'll be buying?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think that look, like I said earlier, Blaine, I think to monetize assets in this environment, especially the office environment, people are good. Both lenders and investors are going to be looking for duration. I think we're fortunate to have that at a number of our assets if we choose to do that execution. I do think when the dust does settle, that you will definitely be seeing more activity in the multifamily space. There's still a lot of capital out there that was on the sidelines prior to COVID-19 and just recently over the last 30 days, I'd say I've seen activity and pricing, people definitely becoming a little bit more aggressive. Like I said to Tony, I mean, it's really the separation gate is really that how you're underwriting years one and two in multifamily. But I would expect it to be, again, with the assistance of Fannie and Freddie, I would expect to see a competitive fall for multifamily product in the region.

Blaine Heck -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. And clearly, your retail and other allocation has decreased a lot over the years, down to, I think, 6% of NOI now. But it continues to be a little bit of a drag on the rest of the portfolio and results seem to be getting worse as COVID disrupts those businesses even more. Can you just talk about your plan for that portfolio? Does it make sense try to dispose of the rest as soon as possible? Or do you think it's best to hold on to what you have and the hopes that you can backfill any sort of move-outs that you have and maybe get better pricing after the crisis?

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Blaine, this is Steve. I'll start it. And I think Paul, we'll just tag team this. It is 6%, and we've had less than $0.01 share of bad debts and when we look at what we've contractually looked at, we've collected 90% there. So it's really not that big a drag, and it's some of our best retail assets. And there's probably not much of a market right now. I'll let Paul comment on that in terms of trading retail assets. But these assets we kept because they also have the ability to be eventually converted into multifamily and other mixed uses. So there's more than one path to some of those assets. Paul, I don't know if you want to add anything to that.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No. I'd say that the thing that's probably changed, Blaine, is obviously, a pretty small pipeline of retail investors out there right now. And we're obviously sensitive to dilution. I think first and foremost, we're happy we got rid of our riskiest assets with the most lease turnover last year. As Steve said, over half of the assets in that inside of that 6%, have redevelopment potential, i.e., Randolf Mantras, Tacoma, Chevy Chase Metro and in very good locations. And I think that we're comfortable with that. We're actually working pretty well with our retail tenants right now, and I'm comfortable some of the programs that we've implemented with them. But also due to the quality of the locations, if we did have some move-outs, I'm also equally comfortable with our ability to backfill the space. So right now, I think retail, given that it's only 6% is a manageable situation.

Blaine Heck -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

All right, great, thanks guys.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Blaine.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Dave Rodgers with Baird. Please proceed with your question.

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

Yeah, good morning guys. Maybe two on office. The first is it sounds like Northern Virginia recovering a little bit faster by parking or any of your internal systems?,, Are you able to determine what percentage of employees are kind of back in the office or where utilization has gone to? And then maybe a second question on office. What's been your experience with Space+ in the current environment with collections, renewals, if you have any that are far enough along, new demand for that product. Your thoughts are on that would be helpful.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Dave, I'll take a first shot at that, and Steve can jump in. First, in terms of Northern Virginia and occupancy levels. Northern Virginia, I mean, we obviously, through our SOPS, we track activity. I think Northern Virginia got up over 20% first. We've seen that dial back a little bit. And I attribute a lot of that to we're in the month of August. And I think some folks are and just kicking the can until past Labor day. D.C., a little bit different. I think D.C. probably peaked in the 12% to 15%. and we think that, that is probably going to remain probably at a lower occupancy level than Northern Virginia. I'd say the activity, and I'm comfortable saying that the activity in terms of that has to that people coming back, we want that to translate into leasing activity. And two of the three assets that we're focusing on our Arlington Tower and Silverline Center, some of our best assets with some of our best space. So I think we're optimistic that, that will turn into something post Labor Day. Just in terms of execution.

I believe the second part of your question was Space+. Without a doubt, we've and it's not just me, we talk to a lot of tenant reps and a lot of the larger shops, both on the agency side and the tenant rep side here. Definitely seeing a bit of an out migration out of the co-working space, folks looking for their own identity. As I made comments earlier on leasing, Space+ really is kind of a slip or fit for people looking for two to three-year terms with flexible leasing. Not only that, but they also get to create their own identity and they get to get most importantly, in this environment, they get to control the protocols in their own space. And so we actually have seen the first deal that we did at 2,000 m Street was a Space+ execution that I believe was coming out of WeWork, and we expect that trend to continue. We haven't had any and Steve asked you, I don't believe we've had any real material rent hiccups in the Space+ space?

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Not at all. No credit. I mean, I think you covered just about everything, Paul. I think the key words are flexibility that people are slow to make longer-term decisions. So Space+ fits it really well. It fits for those that are worried about the health of the environment that they've been in, so they can have their own independent suite and it can be healthy and they don't have to interact, like in co-working with others. And it allows people who have longer-term needs to get started on a short-term basis. And so and I think the fact that we have Space+ and some of our best assets that's available, in some cases, is actually helping and they might even feed longer-term lease decisions after that.

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

Okay. That's helpful. And then maybe just one on the multifamily side. The 3,000 units over five years, and I guess I understand taking a pause here. But as you talked about starting to push rent a little bit here into August, as you guys talk about the confidence just in the broader economy with not having as many deliveries maybe over the next couple of years. When will we expect you to see more be more aggressive on the apartment renovations, it would seem like that trade up today might make sense, especially as you get a little bit more vacancy in the apartment portfolio to just kind of continue through with that product. So I guess, ultimately, what would you want to see to get more aggressive there and get back on track?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I'd say, Dave, as you're you've heard from us before, I mean the renovation pipeline is based on the affordability gap. And we still see good affordability gaps. A and B, it's not like there's been a wide divergence like A has come in and B has dropped precipitously. We've seen them kind of move lockstep, and I'll defer to Grant Montgomery, our Head of Research. But we're going to evaluate it on a submarket by submarket. Dave. I think, as you're aware, we had achieved mid-teens return on cost metrics. I think we're going to reevaluate that. Is that still appropriate in this environment? And then what type of movements are we seeing particularly in the B space. I think we've been pretty pleased with the B space and how it's performed even on not only on the collections, but on some rent movements, both on the renewal side of it. So but we're going to look at each one of those properties. We're doing it on a monthly basis right now. And I would tell you that if we saw an opportunity where we thought that, that affordability gap was intact, and we could achieve a suitable return on cost, we would move forward in the submarket. And again, I'll defer to Grant. Grant, if you had anything you wanted to add there.

A. Grant Montgomery -- Vice President, Research

No, Paul, I think you said it well. I think we have seen very similar path with A and B. I think through April, it's really been within 30, 40 basis points in terms of their tracking in terms of year over rent growth. So that mid-20% rent gap that we have between A and B regionwide is still intact. And it really speaks to how B has held up during this time. It speaks to sort of the exposure of our residents to the stronger industries, which we've talked about. In the script post last quarter and that the majority of job losses in our region have been really concentrated and a couple of three industries, particularly retail and leisure and hospitality are almost 60% of the job losses, but we only have about 13.5% exposure to that industry. And so that's really spoken and really to the strength of our Class B in light of what's going on broadly and has really held that up quite well relative to what's going on in the market.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The only other thing I'd add, Dave, is and we've told you this very sensitive to the income to rent metric and our average renter, I believe, is at 26%. So we want to keep that intact. We think that's important. Given the economic disruption we're going through. So I'm comfortable with that, and we'll monitor that as we kind of move forward and look at reactivating our renovation program.

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

I appreciate all the detailed color guys, thanks.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Dave.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Bill Crow with Raymond James. Please see with your question.

Bill Crow -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Hey, good morning folks. Paul, on the multifamily front, if we see a big reduction in the unemployment benefits, would you anticipate your collection rate to decline in the next few quarters?

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Bill, this is Steve. I'll start it and Grant may be able to help out and Paul as well. One of the things that we're really pleased with. Obviously, we've collected 99% of our rents. And there's a lot of information in our materials that we put out as we met with investors about the strength of our the sectors that our residents are employed by and how they've held up so well on a relative basis to the U.S. overall. One of the things that we noticed and we were looking at recent stuff, and Grant, maybe you can comment a little further on it. But broadly speaking, in terms of the large metro areas, what the D.C. rent income is better than, say, New York or Los Angeles or the Bay Area. So for instance, the Cares Act is really just bearing less of the burden here in D.C. and again, that's not really affecting that many of our tenants is we're collecting 99%, but I think it also speaks to just our region. I don't know if Grant, if you want to add a little to that or Paul.

A. Grant Montgomery -- Vice President, Research

Sure. I can just add sort of to echo what I in a way, the way I answered the previous question is, I think it really does get down to how our portfolio is somewhat insulated based on the employment distribution of our residents. Looking at another way, within the Washington region, professional business services, government and finance have all on average decline less than 2.5%. And during the period we're going through. And those industries comprise approximately 60% of our tenant base in Class B, which really speaks to perhaps how Washington D.C.'s Class B, in particular, our Class B within Washington, D.C. is somewhat different than perhaps some of the pressures that might occur in other markets, as Steve mentioned, that have higher rent to income ratios or alternatively a different employment makeup of their economy.

Bill Crow -- Raymond James -- Analyst

All right. And one on office. I know it's early, and I know one of the tenants are tied to the government in one way or another. But any buzz among the tenant reps that some of the CBT tenants might be looking for the suburbs, either to avoid mass transit or in reaction to some of the protest activities or anything like that?

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Bill, I haven't seen that per se with an executed lease. Do I think that some folks, just given the remote working paradigm that we are going through right now. I do think you're going to see a hub-and-spoke approach. I know a number of companies that have downtown presences are also going to be employing satellite offices in Virginia or in Maryland. I think that we've definitely, without question, we if you look at our same-store numbers in multifamily, I know you asked about office, but you look, people are definitely moving out there. And I think that folks want to live close to where they work. So I would anticipate some of that follow-on activity. I don't think there's some massive trend we're observing over the last 90 days, Bill, but that's clearly something that we're going to keep our eye on moving forward.

A. Grant Montgomery -- Vice President, Research

That said, Bill, I think what you can correct me if I'm wrong, like 70% of the job growth for the last period of time has been in the Northern Virginia. It's been really a growth engine for our region for a while. And tech is a huge part of it. And the contracting and the government contracting has increased. It hasn't decreased. So and I think you know about many of the big tech firms that are moving in, in big ways, HQ2, Microsoft, Facebook, even Walmart Labs, people like that. So I just think there's just more there's just more growth coming in Northern Virginia.

Bill Crow -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Great. I appreciate the time. Thanks.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Bill.

Operator

And if there are no further questions in the Q&A, I would like to pass the floor back over to management for any closing remarks.

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I'd like to thank everyone again for taking time to join us this morning. We appreciate your continued support during these challenging times, and we look forward to talking with you over the coming weeks and months. Thank you, and have a good day.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 62 minutes

Call participants:

Amy Hopkins -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Paul T. McDermott -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Stephen E. Riffee -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

A. Grant Montgomery -- Vice President, Research

Anthony Paolone -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Blaine Heck -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

Bill Crow -- Raymond James -- Analyst

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