Optimal composition of hybrid/blended real estate portfolios

Frank Kwakutse Ametefe (Department of Real Estate & Planning, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Steven Devaney (Department of Real Estate & Planning, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Simon Andrew Stevenson (Department of Real Estate, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Publication date: 4 February 2019



The purpose of this paper is to establish an optimum mix of liquid, publicly traded assets that may be added to a real estate portfolio, such as those held by open-ended funds, to provide the liquidity required by institutional investors, such as UK defined contribution pension funds. This is with the objective of securing liquidity while not unduly compromising the risk-return characteristics of the underlying asset class. This paper considers the best mix of liquid assets at different thresholds for a liquid asset allocation, with the performance then evaluated against that of a direct real estate benchmark index.


The authors employ a mean-tracking error optimisation approach in determining the optimal combination of liquid assets that can be added to a real estate fund portfolio. The returns of the optimised portfolios are compared to the returns for portfolios that employ the use of either cash or listed real estate alone as a liquidity buffer. Multivariate generalised autoregressive models are used along with rolling correlations and tracking errors to gauge the effectiveness of the various portfolios in tracking the performance of the benchmark index.


The results indicate that applying formal optimisation techniques leads to a considerable improvement in the ability of the returns from blended real estate portfolios to track the underlying real estate market. This is the case at a number of different thresholds for the liquid asset allocation and in cases where a minimum return requirement is imposed.

Practical implications

The results suggest that real estate fund managers can realise the liquidity benefits of incorporating publicly traded assets into their portfolios without sacrificing the ability to deliver real estate-like returns. However, in order to do so, a wider range of liquid assets must be considered, not just cash.


Despite their importance in the real estate investment industry, comparatively few studies have examined the structure and operation of open-ended real estate funds. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to analyse the optimal composition of liquid assets within blended or hybrid real estate portfolios.



Ametefe, F.K., Devaney, S. and Stevenson, S.A. (2019), "Optimal composition of hybrid/blended real estate portfolios", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 20-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPIF-04-2018-0022

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