Performance drivers of UK unlisted property funds
Farrelly, K. and Matysiak, G., (2012) Performance drivers of UK unlisted property funds. Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning. 05/12. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp24.
An unlisted property fund is a private investment vehicle which aims to provide direct property total returns and may also employ financial leverage which will accentuate performance. They have become a far more prevalent institutional property investment conduit since the early 2000’s. Investors have been primarily attracted to them due to the ease of executing a property exposure, both domestically and internationally, and for their diversification benefits given the capital intensive nature of constructing a well diversified commercial property investment portfolio. However, despite their greater prominence there has been little academic research conducted on the performance and risks of unlisted property fund investments. This can be attributed to a paucity of available data and limited time series where it exists. In this study we have made use of a unique dataset of institutional UK unlisted non-listed property funds over the period 2003Q4 to 2011Q4, using a panel modelling framework in order to determine the key factors which impact on fund performance. The sample provided a rich set of unlisted property fund factors including market exposures, direct property characteristics and the level of financial leverage employed. The findings from the panel regression analysis show that a small number of variables are able to account for the performance of unlisted property funds. These variables should be considered by investors when assessing the risk and return of these vehicles. The impact of financial leverage upon the performance of these vehicles through the recent global financial crisis and subsequent UK commercial property market downturn was also studied. The findings indicate a significant asymmetric effect of employing debt finance within unlisted property funds.