Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, has made yet another significant push into U.S. real estate, this time inking new joint venture deals with MetLife Real Estate Investors and Prologis.
From the Current Issue
U.S. equity REITs raised $65.48 billion in 2013, slightly less than the $65.75 billion raised in 2012, according to statistics tracked by SNL Financial.
U.S. commercial real estate continued its steady recovery in 2013 and ended the year with a promising fourth quarter that bodes well for prospects in 2014, according to research from CBRE.
A little over five years have passed since the market collapse in September 2008. Commercial mortgage–backed securities were one of the casualties of the global financial crisis and credit crunch. New issuances dried up, and investors were uncertain about what problems may have lurked in their CMBS portfolios.
It is often said in the world of pension fund investors that the small follow the large. In other words, smaller and mid-sized pensions are often risk-averse and will not venture into new markets until the larger pensions do so.
Infrastructure is most commonly considered tangible. In other words, transportation, utility and related projects necessary to make places — most especially cities — function effectively and reliably.
Suddenly, everybody loves real estate. Trade publications regularly trumpet surging capital for U.S. real estate. Pension funds are expanding their programs or launching new ones, international investors are ratcheting up their activity, and defined contribution plans are looking hard at “real” assets.
The impact of the global financial crisis was immediate, and devastating, on the hotel industry. Companies cut budgets. Governments did not want to be seen as spending so much. And people who were uncertain about where their next paycheck would come from avoided jetting away for a frivolous long weekend.
The office market is transforming more today than at any time during the past 50 years. While location, cost and image remain high on the list for prospective tenants, new to the list and moving up quickly in priority are a new set of criteria focused around making office space a powerful tool for building company culture in a rapidly evolving creative economy. No longer just walls, doors and windows, office space is now viewed as a place that should inspire new ideas and creativity. With labor being employers’ largest expense item, the focus is on attracting, retaining and inspiring people to do their best work.
Were you puzzled by how stock market investors, and particularly REIT investors, responded last year to news about economic growth and interest rates? So was I. The year started off very strongly for equities, including REITs, with total returns up 18.0 percent for stocks (as represented by the S&P 500 Index) and 19.3 percent for listed U.S. equity REITs through May 21, 2013. Then the market began to act strangely on what turned out to be the third-worst day of the year for listed U.S. equity REITs.
In the wake of the financial crisis, in order to stimulate consumption and investment and to facilitate deleveraging, the world’s key central banks have undertaken aggressive quantitative easing programs. Since 2008, global monetary stimulus has produced interest rates that are close to zero. Positive inflation since mid-2009 has meant real interest rates have been negative for the first time since the 1970s.
You probably have noticed that we switched formats. For 24 years The Institutional Real Estate Letter had been presented in our traditional newsletter format. In 2013, we switched to a magazine format.
It has become axiomatic that leaders have no more important duty than hiring outstanding people, and that continually hiring great people is the only sustainable competitive advantage. In the final analysis, though, how many companies actually have systemic procedures in place that help ensure the best outcomes? How many leaders truly spend the time required to recruit, develop and retain the superstars of their industry?