Required returns for real estate in UK pension fund portfolios
Lee, S. and Byrne, P., (1995) Required returns for real estate in UK pension fund portfolios. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 37/95. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp12.
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The position of Real Estate within a multi-asset portfolio has received considerable attention recently. Previous research has concentrated on the percentage holding property would achieve given its risk/return characteristics. Such studies have invariably used Modern Portfolio Theory and these approaches have been criticised for both the quality of the real estate data and problems with the methodology itself. The first problem is now well understood, and the second can be addressed by the use of realistic constraints on asset holdings. This paper takes a different approach. We determine the level of return that Real Estate needs to achieve to justify an allocation within the multi asset portfolio. In order to test the importance of the quality of the data we use historic appraisal based and desmoothed returns to examine the sensitivity of the results. Consideration is also given to the Holding period and the imposition of realistic constraints on the asset holdings in order to model portfolios held by pension fund investors. We conclude, using several benchmark levels of portfolio risk and return, that using appraisal based data the required level of return for Real Estate was less than that achieved over the period 1972-1993. The use of desmoothed series can reverse this result at the highest levels of desmoothing although within a restricted holding period Real Estate offered returns in excess of those required to enter the portfolio and might have a role to play in the multi-asset portfolio.