As one of the increasingly important alternative property sectors, data centres are a technology-focused property sector that is taking advantage of the growing investment intensity in technology-related infrastructure, against the backdrop of constant innovation and advancement in technology. The purpose of this paper is to assess the preliminary risk-adjusted performance and portfolio diversification benefits of data centre Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the USA, Australia and Singapore. The strategic implications going forward for data centres as an innovative property sector in the property investment space are also highlighted.
Using monthly total returns, the average annual return, annual risk, risk-adjusted performance and portfolio diversification benefits of data centre REITs in the USA, Australia and Singapore over 2016–2018 are assessed. Optimal asset allocation analysis is performed to investigate the value-added role of data centre REITs in a mixed-asset portfolio.
Data centre REITs delivered strong average annual return performance, outperforming the composite REITs in all three markets. This also sees data centre REITs being riskier than the overall REIT sector due to the non-traditional and maturing status of the data centre property sector. On a risk-adjusted basis, competitive performance was recorded for data centre REITs, with data centre REITs in the USA and Singapore outperforming their respective composite REITs. This performance is also delivered with significant portfolio diversification benefits with the stock market, resulting in data centre REITs contributing to the US mixed-asset portfolios across a diverse risk spectrum.
Institutional investors are now giving increased emphasis to alternative property sectors with better risk-return trade-offs. Improved performance and diversification benefits are achieved by supplementing existing property portfolios with non-traditional property sectors with counter-cyclical risk-return profiles, one of which is the data centre property sector. This sees data centres as an important alternative property sector, having technology-based drivers and being recognised as having a clear path towards institutionalisation with the major investors in the near future.
This paper is the first published empirical research analysis that specifically assessed the preliminary performance and diversification benefits of data centre REITs in the USA, Australia and Singapore. This research enables empirically validated, more informed and practical property investment decision making by institutional investors regarding the future strategic role of the data centre property sector as an innovative sector in the institutional property investment space.
Marzuki, M. and Newell, G. (2019), "The emergence of data centres as an innovative alternative property sector", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 140-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPIF-08-2018-0064Download as .RIS
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