“Financial alchemy” or a zero sum game? Real estate finance, securitisation and the UK property market
Lizieri, C. and Ward, C., (2001) “Financial alchemy” or a zero sum game? Real estate finance, securitisation and the UK property market. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 09/01. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp22.
Following the US model, the UK has seen considerable innovation in the funding, finance and procurement of real estate in the last decade. In the growing CMBS market asset backed securitisations have included $2.25billion secured on the Broadgate office development and issues secured on Canary Wharf and the Trafford Centre regional mall. Major occupiers (retailer Sainsbury’s, retail bank Abbey National) have engaged in innovative sale & leaseback and outsourcing schemes. Strong claims are made concerning the benefits of such schemes – e.g. British Land were reported to have reduced their weighted cost of debt by 150bp as a result of the Broadgate issue. The paper reports preliminary findings from a project funded by the Corporation of London and the RICS Research Foundation examining a number of innovative schemes to identify, within a formal finance framework, sources of added value and hidden costs. The analysis indicates that many of the gains claimed conceal costs – in terms of market value of debt or flexibility of management – while others result from unusual firm or market conditions (for example utilising the UK long lease and the unusual shape of the yield curve). Nonetheless, there are real gains resulting from the innovations, reflecting arbitrage and institutional constraints in the direct (private) real estate market