Send me real-time posts from this site at my email
Motley Fool

Equity LifeStyle Properties, inc (ELS) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Equity LifeStyle Properties, inc (NYSE: ELS)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Oct 19, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, everyone, and thank you all for joining us to discuss Equity LifeStyle Properties Third Quarter 2021 Results. Our featured speakers today are Marguerite Nader, our President and CEO; Paul Seavey, our Executive Vice President and CFO; and Patrick Waite, our Executive Vice President and COO. In advance of today's call, management released earnings. Today's call will consist of opening remarks and a question and answer session with management relating to the company's earnings release. [Operator Instructions]

Certain matters discussed during this conference call may contain forward-looking statements in the meanings of the federal securities laws. Our forward-looking statements are subject to certain economic risk and uncertainty. The company assumes no obligation to update or supplement any statements that become untrue because of subsequent events. In addition, during today's call, we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the comparable GAAP financial measures are included in our earnings release, our supplemental information and our historical SEC filings.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Marguerite Nader, our President and CEO.

10 stocks we like better than Equity Lifestyle Properties
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Equity Lifestyle Properties wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of September 17, 2021

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. I am pleased to report the results for the third quarter of 2021. The third quarter represents our most active camping season and our results show the demand for our product offerings. For the second quarter in a row, we have achieved high watermarks for our new home sales and profit. Our normalized FFO growth was 18% in the quarter and 21% when compared to the third quarter of 2019.

New customer growth in both MH and RV contributed to the positive results in the quarter. Year-to-date, new home sales grew by 75%, contributing to the high quality of occupancy at our MH communities. Homeowners grew by 268 in the quarter, driven by a record number of new home sales. Our MH communities have maintained an occupancy level of over 95%. We have seen a heightened interest in owning new and resale homes in our communities. The quality of the community and the elevated home ownership base contributes to the demand for our properties. Home ownership transfers were 28% higher than last year, indicating strong demand for the homes owned by our residents.

Our digital marketing efforts contributed to the growth of the home sales pipeline. The unique traffic to our website has grown over 24% compared to the same time prior to the pandemic. The growth in our website traffic is being fueled by our digital marketing efforts, including search engine optimization, partnerships with home listing websites and digital advertising.

We added virtual home tours in 2020 as a response to the pandemic, and we have seen a 38% increase in views on our online home tours this quarter compared to last year. Our RV properties saw an increase in revenue of 14% as compared to last year. The revenue growth was strong across annual, seasonal and transient customers. Our mid-week activity continued to pick up with a 12% increase in nights from 2020.

Our subscription-based Thousand Trails Camping revenue showed continued growth in the quarter. Our dues base, which is the largest portion of the revenue base, increased 12%. The dues growth was driven by strong new member sign-ups throughout 2021 combined with improvements in member retention. Our upgrade volume increased 34% as we saw more members focused on increasing their commitment to us and enjoying additional benefits. Based on a recent survey we conducted among our customers and prospects, two-thirds plan to camp more next year than they did in 2021. More than half of the respondents who are working remotely said that they would consider an extended stay in the Sun Belt due to their flexible work arrangements.

Turning to capital deployment. Year-to-date, we have completed over $500 million of acquisitions. In the quarter, we closed on an 800 site parcel within a high quality RV Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for $111 million. Additionally, we purchased our joint venture partner's interest in an 1,800 site high quality RV Park in Tucson, and achieved efficient execution through an exchange of ELS Operating Partnership units.

Turning to 2022. We anticipate continued demand into next year. Within our MH portfolio, by the end of October, we will have noticed 48% of our residents for rent increases and anticipate a 4.7% rate growth in core MH revenue. We anticipate our track record of increasing occupancy will continue and our new expansion sites will provide additional growth. Based on rates we have set for 95% of our RV annual customers for the 2022 season, our core annual RV rental rate is anticipated to grow 5%. These two line items have historically represented over 71% of our overall revenue.

Our primary camping season is now behind us. We welcomed over 350,000 guests and members during our 100 days of camping. I'd like to thank our team members for continuing to deliver excellent service, as we have seen from our positive feedback scores. We are now turning our attention to the winter season where we will welcome our snow birds as they escape the winter.

I will now turn it to Paul to walk through the numbers in detail.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Marguerite, and good morning, everyone. I will review our third quarter and year-to-date results and highlight our guidance assumptions for the fourth quarter and full year 2021. I will close with some comments on our balance sheet and debt market condition.

In our earnings release, we reported third quarter and year-to-date normalized FFO per share of $0.65 and $1.90 respectively. Our core MH rent growth of 4.7% consists of approximately 4.2% of rate growth and 50 basis points related to occupancy gain. We've increased occupancy 213 sites since December with an increase in owners of 551, while renters decreased by 338.

Core RV and marina base rental income increased 14.1% for the third quarter and 11.9% year-to-date compared to the same periods last year. Strong growth in rent from annuals of 7.8% and 6.5% for the quarter and year-to-date periods respectively, reflects the demand for our properties and the outdoor recreation opportunities they provide. For the third quarter, rate growth of 5% was slightly higher than our guidance, and we realized 280 basis points of growth from occupancy.

Annual rent from our marina business represents less than 10% of total core annual rent and the year-to-date growth rate is 8%. As a reminder, more than 95% of our marina rent is generated from annual customers. Core rent growth from seasonals increased 37.5% in the quarter. While the third quarter has not historically been a meaningful contributor to our full year seasonal rent, we saw an increase in customer demand for stays of a month or more driving the uptick in seasonal rent.

Our core RV Transient business delivered growth for the quarter of 21.1%. This is approximately $2 million higher than our July guidance, which we based on reservation pace at that time. Despite smoke from wildfires in Western states that impacted transient stays at certain properties, transient demand continued to build throughout the quarter.

Membership dues revenue for the third quarter increased 12.5% compared to the prior year. Year-to-date, we have sold approximately 20,200 Thousand Trails Camping Pass memberships, an increase of 23% compared to the same period last year. The net contribution from membership upgrade sales in the quarter was almost 130% higher than last year.

Core utility and other income was slightly higher than third quarter 2020 and includes utility and pass through income that offset some of our expenses as well as late fees that we reinstated in late 2020 after suspending them earlier in the year. Third quarter core property operating and real estate tax expenses increased 4.9% compared to the prior year period. Drivers of the increase include utilities and real estate taxes. Electric expense in California and the West was a large contributor to the increase with some of the increase partially offset by utility recovery.

The increase in real estate tax expense is the result of Florida TRIM Notices received in September that reflect increased assessments at certain properties. In addition, payroll expense increased almost 5% compared to the same quarter last year. This comparison is impacted by the timing of hiring in 2020 as our RV properties started to experience increased demand during the third quarter, and in 2021, our efforts to retain employees and fill open positions.

In summary, year-to-date core property operating revenues have increased 8.5% and core property operating expenses have increased 7.8%, resulting in an increase in core NOI before property management of 9%. Income from property operations generated by our non-core portfolio, which consists primarily of the assets we've acquired in the trailing four quarters, was $5.9 million in the quarter.

Property management and corporate G&A expenses were $27.4 million for the third quarter of 2021 and $80.1 million for the year-to-date period. Other income and expenses generated a net contribution of $6.5 million for the quarter and $16.7 million year-to-date. Interest and related loan cost amortization expense was $27.4 million in the quarter and $80.8 million year-to-date.

The press release provides an overview of fourth quarter and full year July -- 2021 earnings guidance. As I provide some context for the information we've provided, keep in mind, my remarks are intended to provide our current estimate of future results. All growth rates and revenue and expense projections represent midpoints in our guidance range and are qualified by the risk factors included in our press release and supplemental financial information. We provide no assurance that our actual results will be consistent with our guidance, and we assume no obligation to update guidance as conditions change.

We expect fourth quarter normalized FFO at the midpoint of our range of approximately $115.7 million with a per share range of $0.57 to $0.63. We project core NOI growth rate range of 6.5% to 7.1%. MH and RV annual rate growth assumptions for the fourth quarter and full year remain consistent with our prior guidance. Significant factors in our guidance assumptions for the remainder of 2021 include the recent announcement opening the Canadian border and its impact on seasonal RV occupancy, the overall level of demand for Transient RV stays as indicated by current customer reservation trends and a moderation of the growth in upgrade sales we've experienced year-to-date.

Our full year 2021 normalized FFO is $2.50 per share at the midpoint of our range of $2.47 to $2.53. Normalized FFO per share at the midpoint represents an estimated 14.8% growth rate compared to 2020. Core NOI is projected to increase 8.4% at the midpoint of our range of 8.1% to 8.7%. The core NOI growth rate increase from our prior guidance is the result of our third quarter outperformance as well as updates to our expectations for the fourth quarter. We have updated our guidance to include MH occupancy gains in the third quarter, current RV reservation trend and expense adjustments based on the year-to-date activity. As a reminder, we make no assumptions for storm events or other uninsured property losses we may incur.

Our guidance for the full year and fourth quarter includes the impact of the acquisition activity we've closed, including the October investment activity announced in our earnings release. We make no assumptions for additional acquisitions during the remainder of the year.

Before we open the call up for questions, I'll discuss debt markets and our balance sheet. Current secured financing terms available for MH and RV assets range from 55% to 75% LTV with rates from 2.5% to 3.25% for 10-year money. We continue to see lenders place high value on sponsor strength, and ELS continues to be highly regarded. High quality age-qualified MH assets will command preferred terms from participating lenders.

Our cash balance at quarter end was more than $40 million. We have available capacity of $280 million from our unsecured line of credit, we have $200 million of capacity under our ATM program and we have only $80 million of debt maturing in 2022. We continue to place high importance on balance sheet flexibility, and we believe we have multiple sources of capital available to us. Our interest coverage and debt to adjusted EBITDAre ratio are 5.5 times.

Now we would like to open it up for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Michael Goldsmith from UBS. Your line is now open.

Michael Goldsmith -- UBS -- Analyst

Good morning. Thanks a lot for taking my question. Can you walk through the thought process on the preliminary 2022 rent growth assumptions? Why is 4.6% to 4.8% the right growth rate for MH and 4.9% to 5.1% the right growth rate for RV? Thanks.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Michael. I'll start by just reminding everyone of the structure of our leases, specifically in the MH portfolio. So about a quarter of our leases with our residents have a link to CPI. Roughly half of those are directly tied to CPI or some fraction of CPI and the other half have floors of 3%. The remaining three quarters of the leases are market-driven. So just kind of framing that for the benefit of listeners, and maybe Patrick can kind of walk through what we're seeing in the market and is driving the rates.

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Paul. So we're working through our budget process. And as we get into the latter part of the year, we typically go through meetings with our regional and property staff on recommendations for rent increases for the full year. That's going to include as we work our way through the balance of the year conversations with homeowners' associations across the portfolio. Florida is a good example. They actually have a statutory setup for property owners and managers to sit down with HOAs and have conversations not only about rent increases, but just the overall operation of the property.

So while we're walking through that process, we share our view of the market and recommended rent increases. They share their view. Usually their view is lower than ours. And we have a regional conversation about what we're seeing in the market as well as presenting an opportunity for us to discuss priorities for the properties, particularly from the HOA's perspective, and that's activities, services and typically improvements to the property. They want some additional pickleball courts, other improvements maybe to the way that ours at the pool, furniture, etc. So that's the kind of view of how we come to our rate increases including some color of our interaction with our residents.

Michael Goldsmith -- UBS -- Analyst

That's really helpful. And on the topic of the opening of the Canadian border. In 2019, you generated about $27 million in RV revenue from Canadian customers, how much of that was pressured in 2020 and -- or expected in '21? And how much do you think you can start to get back next year?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

So I guess, I'll quantify it just in terms of the quarters. So fourth quarter of last year, what we experienced was a reduction or a loss, so to speak, of about $2 million, which was -- in the seasonal revenue and that was primarily driven by the Canadian customers. And our estimate for the impact in the first quarter was about $10 million. We backfilled some of that during the first quarter, and the result was about $8 million.

Michael Goldsmith -- UBS -- Analyst

Do you think your -- do you think because of this disruptions you may have lost Canadian customers overall who may choose not to kind of return?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think our Canadian customers are ecstatic about the border opening and very excited to come into Florida and Arizona and enjoy the sun.

Michael Goldsmith -- UBS -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Michael.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Nick Joseph from Citi. Your line is now open.

Nick Joseph -- Citi Research -- Analyst

Thanks. Paul, appreciate the comments on the CPI and the floor. When you think on the MH growth rate for 2022, would you expect a meaningful difference between the age-restricted versus the all-age MH properties?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Well, it's interesting that you asked that question. A number of our all-age properties are located in California and are subject to rent control. And so there is -- given the level of CPI, there is some benefit in the notices that we're sending out now for 2022 relative to last year or the year before because the summer CPI numbers, especially out West, which is the index for many of the increases, was higher.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

And we also have all-age properties that are in summer destination locations where we are able to push rate a little bit more.

Nick Joseph -- Citi Research -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. And then just tell me acquisition pipeline, obviously, you did the two deals this quarter. How does the pipeline look and especially as we get toward the end of the year within the potential tax changes? Could that shake lose any additional properties? Are you seeing any changes to the actual pipeline today?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think that there's certainly market activity out there. A lot of it is auction-based and we've kind of chosen not to participate in that, but instead, really focused on areas where we can create strategic advantages or part of a longer term relationship that we have in the industry. We started this year focused on that marina platform that was very similar to our Loggerhead portfolio that had a high quality cash flow stream. And then we did a transaction with KOA, which was really further strengthening that relationship. And then we just did the two large RV deals with long-standing joint venture partners. And then increasing our presence in the key Myrtle Beach market was important for us. So I think you'll see us kind of continue to do more transactions like those in the future. And I think the pipeline looks pretty good for those types of transactions.

Nick Joseph -- Citi Research -- Analyst

Thanks. Are there fewer relationship deals available going forward do you think just given the interest in the space more broadly?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Certainly the deals that we have long-term relationships with owners, but they do tend to want to in some instances go out to a broker and make it part of an auction process.

Nick Joseph -- Citi Research -- Analyst

Thank you.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Nick.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Anthony Powell from Barclays. Your line is now open.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hello, Anthony.

Operator

Pardon me, Anthony Powell from Barclays. Please check your mute button. You might be on mute.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Maybe we could move on to the next and then we can get back with Anthony.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of John Kim from BMO Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, John.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

There's been just some -- hey, Marguerite. There's been some discussion among some of the RV dealers of higher turnover among some of the new and recent RVers, as the economy reopens and there's more travel options. I mean, it sounds like from your commentary that you're not seeing that on the transient side, Paul mentioned, a moderation of upgrade sales. So I just wanted to get your views on potentially some of these new RVers and a lot of them sticking around in this appetite.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Sure, John. So the RV business was incredibly strong before the pandemic. And we're in an environment where there are roughly 1 million sites and 11 million RVers on the road. And the pandemic has really expanded our customer channels so that we're seeing more and more outdoor enthusiasts visiting our sites without RVs. In the quarter, we saw an increase in new customer return traffic as compared to 2020. So while there may be some customers who don't think that this lifestyle appeals to them, there's really ample demand in the marketplace. So we're -- I think we're going to continue to see that demand.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

And the moderation of upgrade sales that was on Thousand Trails?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Right. And that's just more -- that's more of a seasonal effect. And you can just see it, there's just more camping opportunities in the summer, which goes along with people getting more excited about upgrading their membership.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Got it. Paul also mentioned that marina has been growing at 8% year-to-date, I think last quarter you mentioned 4%. So can you just elaborate on that? It seems like a huge acceleration in revenue growth, and if you're seeing acquisition opportunities for the type of marina's that you're looking for the high storage rental income marinas?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

On the first part, John, I think there might just be some mixing. The 8% I mentioned is the revenue growth. The 4% is NOI growth.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

So we see the NOI growth at 4%.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

And then, John, in terms of acquisitions, as we've mentioned in the past, we are looking for a particular type of marinas and we are seeing some properties of interest and we will disclose them as we close.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Paul, what was the revenue growth in the second quarter?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

It was right around 8%. I don't have it right in front of me, John, but I can find that and follow-up.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Keegan Carl from Berenberg. Your line is now open.

Keegan Carl -- Berenberg Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, thanks guys for taking the questions. I guess, first, just touching back on marinas, I mean, it seems like you guys are more optimistic than on the last call. So are you willing to actually expand your exposure to it relative to where it currently is as a percentage of your portfolio?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think certainly if we see a transaction that fits within the parameters of what we've been talking about, we would definitely move forward with it. But I don't think there's -- I don't think that's any change from where we were before. We have certain attributes that we like inside of the marina base. And to the extent that we find those, we would certainly close on those transactions. But I don't think it's any different than what we said, which is we'll be in and about the same percentage of marina overall revenue as we are right now. We'll just be growing all RV, MH and marina.

Keegan Carl -- Berenberg Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it. And can you just give us some more color on how you've been mitigating inflationary pressures, specifically on the competitive labor market side of things?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Keegan, I mean, I think that what we have done in that regard is implement some technology initiatives to hopefully enhance the customer experience, while reducing over the long-term our reliance on labor at the properties. We have a huge focus pre-COVID on developing an online check-in process. And we have implemented that and it's had great success. We also are testing tools such as SMS texting for guests who are on the properties so that they can communicate with the staff on property, but not necessarily have to step into the office. Another thing that we've done across our MH portfolio is focus on electronic payment. So that -- those initiatives we expect, as I said, over the long-term to drive labor costs.

I think Patrick maybe has some other color to provide.

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. And it's specifically related to filling vacant positions. And just for a perspective, compared to the third quarter of 2019, we were down about 200 full-time positions across the portfolio of more than 400 properties. And that really leans toward our RV properties, which have a higher seasonal component that represents about 80% of those vacant positions. And if you think about it, it's a little bit more than 200 RV properties. That's a few positions at each property. And our property operations teams and regional management teams have really done a great job accommodating those unfilled positions by cross-training and sharing responsibilities across various positions. So that's a successful way for us to adapt and fill those gaps when we've got not only wage pressures, but specifically just filling open positions.

And just as a reminder, our customer service scores have remained consistently high. For the year 2021, 54 of our properties received the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards. And 25 of our properties were included in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. That's a very high standard where you maintain that Traveler's Choice Award rating for five consecutive years. So the teams have done a nice job dealing with the overall management of onsite staffing, and it's really come through in our customer service.

Keegan Carl -- Berenberg Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it. So you guys don't feel like you lost on any revenue because of staffing shortage, correct?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

That's correct. We were able to service our customers. Thank you.

Keegan Carl -- Berenberg Capital Markets -- Analyst

All right. Sorry. Thanks, Marguerite.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Samir Khanal from Evercore ISI. Your line is now open.

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Yeah. Hi, Marguerite.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hello.

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Yeah, good morning. I don't know if you covered this, but maybe what were the cap rates on kind of the recent deals you disclosed in the quarter?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. The transaction that we did in Myrtle Beach was -- equates to 4.5% cap rate. And the deal that we did in Tucson was a 4% cap.

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Okay. And then maybe just taking a step back you can talk generally about what you're seeing in pricing. I mean, not only for RVs and MH, but just kind of elaborate a little bit on marinas maybe?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So I think that not much has changed in terms of pricing and cap rates. I think RVs and MH are well located. RV and MHs that are close together in the same locations will trade approximately at the same cap rates. We do see the marina cap rates are 5.5% to 6%. And the MH and the RV are somewhere in the 4% to 5% range.

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then, Paul, I guess, just to remind us. Can you -- I guess, what percent of your expenses are related to payroll? Like, we talked in sort of in the last question about wage pressures, you're saying, but trying to get a sense of what that impact could be on kind of on expense growth next year?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I think when you think about our expenses, utilities and payroll combined, which we talk about a fair amount having pressures, that's about 50% of our expense base.

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thanks.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Samir.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Joshua Dennerlein from Bank of America. Your line is now open.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hey, Marguerite, Paul and Patrick.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Josh.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hope you guys are doing well. I guess, I wanted to ask about the ground lease acquisition you did. Curious on just getting more color on that and then maybe what the strategy is?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Sure, Josh. So the property is currently under a ground lease. That's been in place for over 25 years and it expires in 2025. Our plan is to work with the ground lessee. And we have many options, including extending the ground lease, renegotiating the ground lease or taking over the operations of the property. So we just closed on it. We're just starting discussions. But this was a market that we've always been interested in and properties -- a property that doesn't trade frequently at all, which is where our interest was and this was a way to gain access to it.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Okay. I would imagine just given a ground lease like cap rates lower than if it was the -- I would imagine it's a pretty low cap rate. Is that the correct assumption or can you disclose it?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The cap rate was -- it was a 4% -- it's a 4.5% cap rate. The FFO generated by the ground leases equates to 4.5% cap rate. And I think there are certainly opportunities when this asset becomes part of the ELS family.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Okay, OK. So it sounds like you'll try to take -- get the whole asset, if I'm thinking about it correctly?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I mean, I think, we're in early stages of talking with the ground lessee right now.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Got it. And then I just wanted to ask about the mid-week activity on the RV side. What's maybe the profile of the mid-week customer? Is it...

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So what we see is that the mid-week activity, as I mentioned that it's a 12% increase, and the night with the largest variance was Sunday and Monday nights. So we really see more customers extending their weekend with us. So there's really no differential in what the customer looks like. It's more just they're taking their Sunday night and Monday night and perhaps I think that's the flexibility and their work schedules helps and that positively impacts the results. We don't see that same effect on Tuesday and Wednesday. So it's really a Sunday, Monday effect that helps to drive up that increase in nights.

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Got it. Okay, interesting. I'll leave it there. Thank you, guys.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Josh.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of John Pawlowski from Green Street. Your line is now open.

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Thank you for taking the time. Good morning. Paul, could you share the revenue and expense growth assumption that underpins the fourth quarter NOI forecast? I'm just trying to get a sense for the moderation of NOI growth you guys are predicting.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I think on the revenues, I mentioned the moderation, the rate that we're talking about, it's kind of a 3%-ish number on expenses and revenues are closer to 5%. And the moderation, when we think about, I'll start just with the transient, just the process that we go through, taking a look at our reservation pace and so forth, demand is strong, but it was also strong in the fourth quarter of last year. And so the guidance assumption, it includes that the heavy rates, the kind of almost 50% growth rate in transient that we've seen year-to-date, moderates meaningfully to kind of a high-single-digit -- mid-to-high single-digit growth.

The seasonal, I mentioned in response to another call, you'll remember, it was about a $2 million impact last year. And given the opening of the Canadian border, we expect to see those customers come back and don't see risk that we saw last year at this time. And then as Marguerite mentioned, the upgrade sales that revenue stream as those properties go out of season we typically see a reduction in the upgrade sales volumes. And so we're looking at kind of a mid-single-digit growth rate for that as well relative to last year.

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay. Could you share the -- again, I'm not really concerned about one quarter, just trying to understand the trajectory for the next few years. Could you share the seasonal RV growth assumption for fourth quarter because you still have that easy comp from a year ago?

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

That is -- it is kind of a 25% to 30%-ish number relative to last year. So it's a healthy growth rate, but again, we're recovering that -- those dollars that we lost.

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay. And then a question for anybody. Could you just help us think through the next few years in terms of the RV business and that specifically that quote, you led with two-thirds of your tenant base suggests they're going to camp more next year than they did this year. Obviously, there's going to be a lot of churn between annual, seasonal and transient membership upgrades. So help us just kind of dial that -- those survey anecdotes into kind of what's the structural run rate for RV revenue growth going forward?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, I think, you need to look at it in the three different buckets. So we've provided some guidance for what we think about the annual rate. How that's going to trend, which we think is a healthy number. And then there is the increase in annuals and we've seen an increase year-to-date of annuals of a significant number, 1,000 plus. So that's been -- that's contributing to what you see in our growth rate.

On the seasonal side, it's really dependent on what happens in any given season. Obviously, we're looking at -- we look at 2022 with the Canadian border opening and with anticipated -- the farmers who own that, anticipate the very cold winter this winter and we would anticipate high demand for that reason or for those reasons. And then as you look at the transient side, we've always said, it's difficult to predict too far into the future on those and we'll be sticking with that. Although we've just been able to access a wider customer base, which I think is going to be helpful for us to continue to fill those transient sites.

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay. So when you see the survey data and you see the kind of real time trends in terms of the appetite for RV, do you expect transient RVs to decline on an absolute basis next year? Do you -- everything should still grow?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The transient side is a very kind of up to the minute rate adjustment. So as we see demand, as this is supply and demand equation, so we'll be adjusting that as we see it. So it's a little early to tell, but people are very excited. Our customers are very excited to get out on the weekends. And then when they do that, they tend to want to say, I like this lifestyle and then they go to commit on a longer term basis.

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you for your time.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes to the line of Anthony Powell from Barclays. Your line is now open.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hello, Anthony.

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hello. Good morning. Sorry for earlier.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning. No problem.

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thanks for letting me back on the call. So a question about actually home sales, which was doubled again in the quarter and very strong. Just curious, are you seeing any new demographics kind of buying homes from you guys? And looking forward, is there any prospect for maybe higher margins in the segment? I know it's not a big focus for you except the margins, but given the volume sales, is that something that you can maybe push a bit further?

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I mean, I'll -- it's Patrick. I'll touch on the color around the home buyers, and Paul, if you want to put a fine point on margins. But the buyer that we see coming through the door today is pretty similar to our typical new home buyer in particular, and they're around 60 years of age. I think we reported on an earlier call that from a financial stability perspective, FICOs have consistently been over 700. That's trending somewhat higher, at 730 plus for the year-to-date. So we're seeing a more well qualified home buyer come through the door.

And we're also seeing an increase in out-of-state inbound home buyers. And really all that reflects is that while there was a kind of a longer transition from maintaining your residence up north and setting up your roots in call it, Florida, you'd come through as a home buyer who was coming from a transitional housing as you were kind of setting up your roots and buying a home with us. We've seen that process shorten up and people choose to make this step-in in one move, buy a house and move down to the Sun Belt to setup their roots for retirement.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And I can jump in, Anthony. Just as we think about margins on home sales, I'd characterize it as kind of a low to no margin business for us on the new homes. Our focus is on the overall cost for the customer, and their -- of course, their cost of purchasing the house is part of that, but it's the rent as well. And if we've priced it equilibrium, we're at a quite a low margin on the sale of the house.

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks. And maybe one more for me. You mentioned that you bought the parcel of land in Florida for initial development sites. When could you maybe start development there? And could you just maybe go over your development pipeline over the next couple years? How many sites do you add near to your existing sites every year?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So just with respect to the land that we bought, we bought 40 acres of land adjacent to a 400 site property, age-restricted property near Sarasota. That property has been full for many years and this was really a great opportunity for us to expand the footprint of the community. We think we would get the development going on that in the next couple years, one to two years, I would say.

And maybe, Patrick, if you could walk through the development pipeline.

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. The development pipeline -- I mean, over the last couple years, our target has been to deliver north of 1,000 completed sites. We achieved that last year with a little over 1,100. We're tracking to just over 1,000 for the current year. And for the foreseeable future, I would expect us given our pipeline to be able to deliver in the 1,000, 1,200, 1,300 sites on an annual basis. A lot of that's going to be driven by just the timing of entitlements and the process for getting projects completed and COed. In today's environment, we're seeing a little bit of pressure with the timing that we're seeing with our GCs. Likewise, responsiveness from local administrative offices on inspections, certificates of occupancy, utility companies in particular, connections with the electric company tend to be challenging from a timing perspective.

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

Got it. And have construction costs kind of impacted any expected near-term yields for you guys or is that -- you're still expecting pretty positive results there?

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I mean, we're expecting positive results of it. Our yields are in the high-single-digits typically with some of our projects in the low-double-digits. There's no question that we're seeing some impact from construction costs across the portfolio, but the demand profile allows us to help to support those yields.

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

All right. Great. Thank you.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Anthony.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes to the line of John Kim from BMO Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thank you.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hello, John.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

I'm back. The 4% cap rate on Voyager, is this the new norm for a Class A RV resort or is it unusually low because of the expansion opportunity adjacent to it?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, certainly, the expansion opportunities -- I mean, we've operated this property for 10 years, so we have a real good indication of the value of the property and we know deals that have traded in and around that area. So it's really a function of the Tucson marketplace and the high quality of the property.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Can you comment on the timing and the number of sites you could expand this to?

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Patrick?

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. That's the adjacent land with the expansion is 300 sites on roughly 60 acres. And we would expect to get a shovel on the ground in 2022 with -- that will be the first phase on 150 sites with the next phase to follow-up upon completion and lease up.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thanks.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Hey, John.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I can just follow -- your question earlier, I can close that out too since you hop back in. Second quarter...

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We're just getting things off the list here. This is fantastic. Okay.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Second quarter marina annual rent, that growth rate was 8.7%.

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, John.

Operator

Thank you. Since we have no more questions on the line, at this time, I'd like to turn it back over to Marguerite Nader for closing remarks.

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you all for joining us today. We look forward to updating you on our next quarter's call. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 46 minutes

Call participants:

Marguerite Nader -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Paul Seavey -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Patrick Waite -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Michael Goldsmith -- UBS -- Analyst

Nick Joseph -- Citi Research -- Analyst

John Kim -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Keegan Carl -- Berenberg Capital Markets -- Analyst

Samir Khanal -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Joshua Dennerlein -- Bank of America -- Analyst

John Pawlowski -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Anthony Powell -- Barclays -- Analyst

More ELS analysis

All earnings call transcripts

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Source

Popular posts

Welcome! Is it your First time here?

What are you looking for? Select your points of interest to improve your first-time experience:

Apply & Continue