The purpose of this paper is to consider prospects for UK REITs, which were introduced on 1 January 2007. It specifically focuses on the potential influence of depreciation and expenditure on income and distributions.
First, the ways in which depreciation can affect vehicle earnings and value are discussed. This is then set in the context of the specific rules and features of REITs. An analysis using property income and expenditure data from the Investment Property Databank (IPD) then assesses what gross and net income for a UK REIT might have been like for the period 1984‐2003.
A UK REIT must distribute at least 90 per cent of net income from its property rental business. Expenditure therefore plays a significant part in determining what funds remain for distribution. Over 1984‐2003, expenditure has absorbed 20 per cent of gross income and been a source of earnings volatility, which would have been exacerbated by gearing.
Expenditure must take place to help UK REITs maintain and renew their real estate portfolios. In view of this, investors should moderate expectations of a high and stable income return, although it may well still be so relative to alternative investments.
Previous literature on depreciation has not quantified amounts spent on portfolios to keep depreciation at those rates. Nor, to our knowledge, has its ideas been placed in the indirect investor context.
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