Hospital bond issuance up $4.4B in Q1: 5 key points

Nonprofit hospitals sold $5.8 billion in fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds in the first quarter of 2015, up from $1.4 billion in the comparable period of 2014, according to a recent HFA Partners report.

Here are five key points about the significant jump in bond issuance in the first quarter.

1. Refundings were the force behind the spike in first-quarter hospital bond issuance as more hospitals took advantage of the low interest environment to cut their cost of funds, according to HFA Partners.

2. In the first quarter of 2014, 20 percent of issuance was to refinance existing debt. That percentage shot up to 73 percent in the first    quarter of 2015.

3. In the first quarter of 2014, 80 percent of issuance was to finance new projects. That percentage fell to 27 percent this year.

4. The median hospital bond issue size has nearly doubled, growing to $130 million year to date, up from $66 million last year, according to HFA Partners.

5. Including variable rate bonds and related sectors such as senior living, total healthcare bond issuance was $8 billion for the first quarter of 2015, up from $3.5 billion in 2014.

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