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Confident Investors Want To Pile $135B More Into Real Estate


Large institutions are at their most confident about the prospects for the real estate sector since 2014, and want to pump an extra $135B into the sector over the next few years.

According to the latest annual Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor produced by Hodes Weill, global institutional investors that control $12.3 trillion in assets want to increase their average allocation to real estate to 10.5%, from a current average of 9.4%. That means they want to put a combined $135B into the sector.

Hodes Weill compiles a “conviction index” that measures institutions’ view of real estate as an investment opportunity from a risk-return standpoint. It rose from 5.1 to 5.7 (out of 10), the highest level since 2014, even though institutions said they were increasingly positioning their portfolios for a potential downturn.

U.S. and Asian investors want to increase their allocations to real estate the most, while European and Middle Eastern investors think their allocation will remain flat, despite being the furthest away from meeting their target allocations.

Hodes Weill picked out some of the institutions planning the biggest increase in allocations to real estate. CalSTERS is planning on increasing its allocation from 13% to 15%, which means it wants to put another $5B into the sector. Other institutions planning big increases include France’s ERAFP, the Teachers Retirement System of Texas, Alaska’s Permanent Fund Corp. and the Yale University Endowment.

Asia and the UK fared worst when it came to the locations where institutions want to put their money. Last year 70% of institutions said they would consider investing in the UK, but that dropped to 61% this year. Brexit was the most common reason cited, Hodes Weill said. The percentage of global institutions looking to invest in Asia fell from 47% to 40%, with protests in Hong Kong a major reason.

The growing focus on environmental, social and governance factors continued to increase, Hodes Weill found. Almost half (46%) of the institutions surveyed had a formal ESG policy, compared to 39% in 2018.

This will have a big impact for the fund managers looking to receive commitments from institutions. The investment consultant Mercer, which advises big pension funds on how and with whom they should invest, now requires an ESG rating in addition to an investment rating when underwriting managers’ offerings.