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Institutional Investors Expected to Increase Real Estate Allocations by $52.5BN in 2015

Institutional investors are expected to increase their target allocations for real estate investment this year to 9.6% up from 9.4% in 2014, Colliers International has revealed in its latest research report entitled ‘How long will this property bull market last?’

This seemingly modest increase amounts to an extra US$52.5 billion in the market given the size of the capital pools, which gives a significant boost to overall funds targeting global real estate this year. 

It follows a US$105 billion increase on the previous year when target allocations rose from an average of 8.9% of existing portfolios in 2013. If these allocation rate increases are applied more widely across private equity and sovereign wealth funds, the total uplifts would amount to US$160 billion in 2014 and US$80 billion in 2015. Total global funds under management currently amount to US$32 trillion.

The weight of money targeted at real estate is also evident in the size and origin of cross-border direct investment flows. Although the 2007 peak of US$382 billion is yet to be repeated, cross-border investment amounted to US$262 billion in 2014 with the substantial expansion of Asian investment led by the Chinese. Asian capital accounted for around 13% of cross-border investment in 2007 and more than doubled to 30% last year, which is a total increase of US$36 billion with signs of further growth.

Walter Boettcher, EMEA Research Director and Economist, Colliers, said: “Weight of capital as an investment driver is certainly not a new phenomenon, but remains undiminished in this particular cycle. However, what is new is the extent to which property investment has become globalised with funds needing to reach beyond their domestic borders to satisfy their target allocations to property. This is driven by the extraordinarily low interest rate environment and an international search for yield, with property offering relatively high returns compared to bonds and equities. The UK and Europe remain primary international targets with funds showing a greater appetite for risk.”

A delayed development cycle has also resulted in an acute shortage of institutional grade product across all markets, resulting in existing ‘standing assets’ being pushed up in value substantially. Debt for development is becoming more accessible, so investors will need to look increasingly at creating their own investible assets through development. 

Given the unprecedented weight of capital, Colliers has indicated that there is a once in a generation opportunity to channel investment into the development of productive assets that offer long-term value across the economy. Infrastructure projects such as airports, universities, hospitals and care facilities often have lengthy lead in times and large capital requirements, but offer the long regular paybacks that appeal to institutions.


The bull market and its drivers

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Property markets are cyclical and increasingly globalised


The bull market is global


Is it different this time?




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  • An increase of 1% allocation to property globally amounts to $320 billion.
  • Low risk assets include the risk of negative returns.

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Elongation of the cycle?


US vs EMEA Lending Disparity

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  • European lending ‘less sophisticated’
  • Banks Holding €2.6 Trillion of NPLs



The NPL & Distressed Opportunity

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Vacancy/Rents and Development


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EMEA Vacancy & Rental Disconnect


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Limited correlation between vacancy and rental growth


SOURCE: Colliers International


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