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Varying interest rate sensitivity of different property sectors: cross-country evidence from REITs

Yu-Cheng Lin (School of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Chyi Lin Lee (School of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Graeme Newell (School of Business, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 5 April 2021

Issue publication date: 3 April 2021

434

Abstract

Purpose

Recognising that different property sectors have distinct risk-return characteristics, this paper assesses whether changes in the level and volatility of short- and long-term interest rates differentially affected excess returns of sector-specific Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the Pacific Rim region between July 2006 and December 2018. The strategic property risk management implications for sector-specific REITs are also identified.

Design/methodology/approach

Daily excess returns between July 2006 and December 2018 are used to analyse the sensitivity in the level and volatility of interest rates for REITs among office, retail, industrial, residential and specialty REITs across the USA, Japan, Australia and Singapore. The generalised autoregressive conditionally heteroskedastic in the mean (GARCH-M) methodology is employed to assess the linkage between interest rates and excess returns of sector-specific REITs.

Findings

Compared with diversified REITs, sector-specific REITs were less sensitive to short- and long-term interest rate changes across the USA, Japan, Australia and Singapore between July 2006 and December 2018. Of sector-specific REITs, retail and residential REITs were susceptible to interest rate movements over the full study period. On the other hand, office and specialty REITs were generally less sensitive to changes in the level and volatility of short- and long-term interest rate series across all markets in the Pacific Rim region. However, the interest rate sensitivity of industrial REITs was somewhat mixed. This sector was sensitive to interest rate movements, but no comparable evidence was found since the onset of GFC.

Practical implications

The insignificant exposure to interest rate risk of sector-specific REITs may imply that they have a stronger interest rate risk aversion and greater hedging benefits than their diversified counterparts, particularly for office and specialty REITs. The results support the existence of REIT specialisation value in the Pacific Rim region from the interest rate risk management perspective. This is particularly valuable to international property investors constructing and managing portfolios with REITs in the region. Property investors are advised to be aware of the disparities in the magnitude and direction of sensitivity to the interest rate level and volatility of REITs across different property sectors and various markets in the Pacific Rim region. This study is expected to enhance property investors' understanding of interest rate risk management for different property types of REITs in local, regional and international investment portfolios.

Originality/value

The study is the first to assess the interest rate sensitivity of REITs across different property sectors and various markets in the Pacific Rim region. More importantly, this is the first paper to offer empirical evidence on the existence of specialisation value in the Pacific Rim REIT markets from the aspect of interest rate sensitivity. This research may enhance property investors' understanding of the varying interest rate sensitivity of different property types of REITs across the USA, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the comments of the anonymous referees, Professor Joseph Ooi (NUS) and Professor David Harrison (UCF) at the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society conference and participants at the American Real Estate Society.

Citation

Lin, Y.-C., Lee, C.L. and Newell, G. (2022), "Varying interest rate sensitivity of different property sectors: cross-country evidence from REITs", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 68-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPIF-09-2020-0099

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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