Well, if ‘a week is a long time in politics’ (and even longer in UK politics!), it’s also a long time for the listed global real estate sector. Ironically as a property developer moved into the White House last autumn, the sector badly underperformed as equity investors switched into reflation trades and bond investors headed for the hills. For investors who still think real estate is a good inflation hedge, its been a harsh lesson – as inflation comes through, bond yields typically rise and the sector in most cases gets caned at least short term.
But four months into the year, the ‘Trump bump’ has run out of steam on Obamacare and the global real estate sector (TR +6.5% in USD) has marginally outperformed global equities YTD (+6.1%). Emerging market real estate (+18%) leads the way, with Asia-Pacific (exc Japan) up strongly (TR +11%). US real estate is now underperforming (unsurprisingly given tight FFO yields) but the significant change is that the UK real estate sector is outperforming (+10.7%), helped by the recent pop in sterling on the back of the Prime Minister’s call for a snap election, and growing concern over the potential outcome of European elections. Ignoring currencies, the UK sector has even outperformed domestic UK equities (+6.8% v +2.2% YTD).