CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The strong performance of real estate relative to equities has helped drive investor demand across all sectors in recent years. Such activity is not just restricted to the UK, but is also evident both at the European and Global level. Our own research shows strong levels of cross border activity across Europe, accounting for half of total activity, with the share increasing in a number of new markets notably across Central and Eastern Europe (European Capital Markets Bulletin, 2005). At a Global level capital flows accounted for 60 per cent of cross-border investment (Jones Lang LaSalle, 2005), suggesting that investors wishing to diversify internationally are likely to do so outside their home region.
Investing overseas of course brings with it risks and hence the need to understand wider market trends better. Having recently spent a short period of time investigating markets across Europe, the power of the internet and the associated growth of information, both free and by subscription has vastly aided the spread and availability of market knowledge, both directly related to real estate markets, but also on a broader macro economic level.
At the property level a vast amount of knowledge is available through number market reports at both the city, country and sector level, often freely available from sites such as our own (www.joneslanglasalle.co.uk) and of course our competitors including CBRE (www.cbre.co.uk) and Atis Real (www.atisreal.co.uk) to name but a few. Such information is general and supported by much wider knowledge in-house and the support of dedicated in-depth research and capital markets knowledge. This cannot be underestimated when venturing into unknown overseas markets.
For a general markets perspective the Estates Gazette Group publishes a monthly European journal, EuroProperty and many of these articles can be accessed via their subscription-based Estates Gazette Interactive (www.egi.co.uk). The service also provides a number of country surveys, which provides the latest and past news in that region, making access easier for those looking at matters on a country basis. There is also the functionality to search for rents and yields at a European level, although selecting the latest available, which was Q4 at the time of writing (October 2005), would not be particularly useful in the current market climate. A further source for news is Europe Real Estate (www.europe-re.com). This site provides news from across Europe, which is readily searchable by date or even by country. There is also the option to subscribe to a newsletter by e-mail. Simply type in your e-mail address and select whether you want the newsletter on a weekly or daily basis and then submit. Some “Country Summary” information is also available, part of a wider yearbook, which is available to buy.
There is also a wealth of other information, some freely available. For example, IPD now produces a range of indices for a number of countries across Europe (www.ipdindex.co.uk). Selecting “Indices and market information” from the header and then “National Indices” from indices and publications, a list of the latest country summary data is made available including Ireland, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany and The Netherlands. Details and a summary of developments of their Pan-European index, which combines the main European indices, is also available. As with much of the UK data, detailed statistics come at a cost.
A growing area of the market is that of indirect property, for which a number of web sites are coming forward offering a range of information. The publicly-listed real estate market is covered by the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA). Their site has a wealth of information including research covering various markets across Europe. The current trend of real estate investment trusts means that there is a focus of information on this area. At the time of reviewing a high proportion of the literature was on this subject, including responses on the proposed introduction of REITs in the UK, developments of REITs or SIICs as they are known locally in France as well as more detailed work on REIT regimes across Europe and EC Treaty Freedoms. The research section is worthy of a browse for finding various information or data trends on the public markets across Europe. The Indices section also provides data bulletins on trends. Data and charts are available to download, although there are restrictions of some information that is reserved for members only.
Global Property Research (www.propertyshares.com) also allows access to data on the listed sector, although there is a charge for this information. Unfortunately, in not having access to this, I am unable to comment on the availability or quality of the data. The company is also part of Kempen & Co., a Dutch Merchant Bank, so not a true independent body.
Turning to the indirect (unlisted sector) a number of organisations are now providing data with some overlap between the organisations. It will often be the case that the information will be duplicated as one body supplies the majority of the data. Oxford Property Consultants (www.opconsulatants.com) a company set up by Andy Baum provides research on the indirect market both in the UK and Europe. Some basic summary data is made available under the publications section, although the more detailed information is only available by way of subscription – details on who to contact and a background to this database being available under the “Property vehicles databank” section.
The other site worthy of a visit is that of INREV (www.inrev.org). INREV is a body set up to represent investors in non-listed real estate and is now starting to provide a growing amount of research on this market across Europe. The particular section that will be of interest includes the “market information” area which contains quarterly reports at an aggregated level, with historic reports also available, enabling comparisons over time to be made. Of course at this level the data are broad and more detailed information will be the requirement for many. To get a view of what is available here the “vehicle information” section provides a demo – essentially a series of screen dumps showing the outputs and search criteria of the database. For those seeking this information it will be worth a visit.
On the economics side there is a variety of sources of information. The most useful starting point for Europe will be the Eurostat web site (http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int) which provides data releases and access to data on both a European aggregated level and country level. Just like the UK’s Office for National Statistics, this site can be a chore to navigate if you are unsure of what you are after. It is often easy to seek out the news releases on various economic data if some current trends are all you are after – simply look under the latest news releases – a link to the full list is available from the homepage. With many new accession countries, the breadth of data is useful for those seeking free information. The European Central Bank (ECB) (www.ecb.int) is also worth a look for monetary developments at a country level or indeed across Europe.
Other organisations also provide some free material. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (www.oecd.org) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (www.imf.org) produce regular reports at a country level, including their outlook.
For historical data or even forecasts, a number of organisations provide such services. There are numerous organisations available, some of which I have experience of, others not. To prevent any possible bias I would suggest browsing the following company sites – The Economist Intelligence Unit (www.eiu.com), Oxford Economic Forecasting (www.oef.com); Cambridge Econometrics (www.camecon.com) and Capital Economics (www.capitaleconomics.com).
Those wanting to seek more information can do so at their own leisure. I am also sure that there are many more sources out there. Of course there is always the tried and tested Google (www.google.co.uk), which always seems to dig me out of a hole when stuck for the obscure. If it is out there, Google will usually find it! Happy surfing!
The views expressed are the author’s and not those of Jones Lang LaSalle.
Nigel AlmondAssociate Director, Jones Lang LaSalleE-mail: Nigel.Almond@eu.jlll.com
European Capital Markets Bulletin (2005), first half
Jones Lang LaSalle (2005), Global Real Estate Capital Travelling Further to Return Stronger, Jones Lang LaSalle, London