REIT deals are back in the Hospital sector, after a two-year lull. Through mid-July, six transactions targeting U.S. hospitals were announced by real estate investment trusts (REITs), a total that equals the annual REIT deal volume of 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Three of this year’s U.S. deals were announced in July 2019. Medical Properties Trust (NYSE: MPW) made a splash, announcing a combined $1.75 billion invesment in 24 hospital facilities through three separate transactions.

The largest of the three, at $1.55 billion, was for 14 acute care hospitals and two behavioral health hospitals (2,383 beds) owned by for-profit Prospect Medical Holdings in California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The money will be used to retire Prospect’s term-loan debt.

Prospect will continue to operate its 20 hospitals and more than 165 clinics and outpatient centers in those states, as well as in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Texas. The hospitals involved in this transaction employ approximately 750 physicians.

The second of the three deals, at $145.4 million, went to Embree Asset Group in Kansas City, Missouri. Embree sold its real estate assets in seven small community hospitals operated by Saint Luke’s Health System around the Kansas City metropolitan area. The hospitals were all built within the last two years and average eight hospital beds and seven emergency room beds each.

The least splashy transaction was for the 106-bed Watsonville Community Hospital in Watsonville, California, a coastal city south of San Jose. Halsen Healthcare, which acquired the hospital in June from Quorum Healthcare (NYSE: QHC) for approximately $37.5 million. Medical Properties put up $40 million for the facility’s real estate assets.

This was the first hospital acquisition by Halsen, which launched in 2018 by former executives from Tenet Healthcare (NSYE: THC), Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH) and HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA). It certainly won’t be the last.

Medical Properties Trust has actually announced five deals this year, including one in January 2019 for 11 hospitals (1,478 beds) owned by Healthscope Ltd. (ASX: HSO). Healthscope, Australia’s second largest private hospital chain (43 hospitals), sold the real estate assets of 11 hospitals to the U.S.-based REIT for $859 million. All are concentrated in large metropolitan areas of Australia.

The fifth deal targeted privately held BMI Harbour Hospital in Poole, United Kingdom. The 38-bed hospital offers orthopedic, oncology and physiotherapy services.  The deal closed for $45 million.