Publications

- May 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 5

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Places are for people: Examining the social impact of real estate investment

by Will Robson

At the start of the year I suggested that 2020 may prove to be a watershed year in terms of the way investors consider real estate as an asset class. It seems that, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I was right, but for entirely different reasons. The ensuing crisis dramatically highlights how real estate is inextricably linked to other financial markets, the broader economy and society around it.

Property has been a growing part of many institutional portfolios and is increasingly being considered in a broader context, both in relation to an organisation’s other investments and society itself. This has been clearly demonstrated in MSCI’s 2020 Emerging Real Estate Trends report, which has identified real estate’s social impact as a growing concern for asset allocators.

This sentiment is shared by many real estate industry leaders. Last October, Chris Taylor, CEO of Hermes Real Estate, chaired MSCI’s annual conference, during which he made repeated re

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