Correlation shifts and real estate portfolio management
Lee, S., (2002) Correlation shifts and real estate portfolio management. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 03/02. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp18.
The success of any diversification strategy depends upon the quality of the estimated correlation between assets. It is well known, however, that there is a tendency for the average correlation among assets to increase when the market falls and vice-versa. Thus, assuming that the correlation between assets is a constant over time seems unrealistic. Nonetheless, these changes in the correlation structure as a consequence of changes in the market’s return suggests that correlation shifts can be modelled as a function of the market return. This is the idea behind the model of Spurgin et al (2000), which models the beta or systematic risk, of the asset as a function of the returns in the market. This is an approach that offers particular attractions to fund managers as it suggest ways by which they can adjust their portfolios to benefit from changes in overall market conditions. In this paper the Spurgin et al (2000) model is applied to 31 real estate market segments in the UK using monthly data over the period 1987:1 to 2000:12. The results show that a number of market segments display significant negative correlation shifts, while others show significantly positive correlation shifts. Using this information fund managers can make strategic and tactical portfolio allocation decisions based on expectations of market volatility alone and so help them achieve greater portfolio performance overall and especially during different phases of the real estate cycle.