- January 1, 2021: Vol. 33, Number 1

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Navigating turbulent times: Real estate portfolio construction and risk management during a downturn

by Isaiah Usher

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the global economy and real estate markets in their tracks. While concerns had been growing over the past few years around sluggish economic growth, rising trade tensions between the United States and China, and the inversion of the yield curve, these fears had mostly subsided by the end of 2019. Real estate markets were broadly stable, and investors were focused on sensible risk-taking — identifying and investing in opportunities that exceeded return hurdle rates with an acceptable amount of risk.

The COVID-19 public health crisis and the ensuing, severe economic recession have catapulted risk and how to manage it to the forefront of institutional investors’ minds. The steps taken by governments around the world to curtail the transmission and spread of the novel coronavirus have disrupted the global economy in a way not seen in living memory. Even during the global financial crisis, when financial market lock-ups resulted in a devastating i

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