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Return and co-movement of major public real estate markets during global financial crisis: A frequency domain approach

Kim Hiang Liow (Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Shao Yue Angela (Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the volatility spectral of five major public real estate markets, namely, the USA, the UK, Japan (JP), Hong Kong (HK), and Singapore (SG), during the pre- and post-global financial crisis (GFC) periods.


First, univariate spectral analysis is concerned with discovering price cycles for the respective real estate markets. Second, bivariate cross-spectral analysis seeks to uncover whether any two real estate price series share common cycles with regard to their relative magnitudes and lead-lag patterns of the cyclical variations. Finally, to test the contagion effects, the authors estimate the exact percentage change in co-spectral density (cyclical covariance) due to high frequencies (short run) after the GFC.


The authors find that whilst none of the public real estate markets examined are spared from the crisis, the three Asian markets were less severely affected by the GFC and were accompanied by a reversal in volatility increase three years post-global financial crisis. Additionally, the public real estate markets studied have become more cyclically linked in recent years. This is particularly true at longer frequencies. Finally, these increased cyclical co-movements measure the outcomes of contagion and indicate fairly strong contagious effects between the public real estate markets examined due to the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

The implication of this research is that benefits to investors from international real estate diversification may not be as great during the present time compared to previous periods because national public real estate markets have become more correlated. Nevertheless, the findings do not imply the complete absence of diversification benefits. This is because although cyclical correlations increase in the short run, many of the correlation values are still between low and moderate range, indicating that some diversification benefits may still be realized.

Practical implications

Given the significant market share and the highest levels of securitization in Asia-Pacific markets including JP, HK/China, and SG, this cyclical research including major public real estate markets has practical implications for ongoing international real estate investment strategies, particularly for the USA/UK and Asian portfolio managers.


This paper contributes to the limited research on the cyclical return and co-movement dynamics among major public real estate markets during financial/economic crisis in international finance. Moreover, the frequency-domain analysis conducted in this paper adds to better understanding regarding the impact of GFC on the cyclical return volatility and co-movement dynamics of major developed public real estate markets in international investing.



Liow, K.H. and Angela, S.Y. (2017), "Return and co-movement of major public real estate markets during global financial crisis: A frequency domain approach", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 489-508.



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