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UBS Global Asset Management Urges Diversification to Avoid Over Exposure to Canadian Market
Real estate around the world is in an upswing, presenting a golden opportunity for Canadian investors to diversify away the risk of being overly exposed to their home market, said Richard Johnson, Managing Director of UBS Global Asset Management today.
Mr. Johnson was among a number of leading investors quoted in today’s Globe and Mail Report on Business article Real estate’s next worry: commercial property that explores the risks associated with Canada having one of the hottest commercial real estate markets in the world. Canadian commercial real estate has delivered a 10-year annualized total return of 11.9% according to Investment Property Databank. That’s the highest of all developed markets covered by IPD, and second only to South Africa in that time period.
“With most Canadian institutional real estate investment focused on domestic real estate, pension funds could be seriously overexposed in the event of a downdraft in the market,” said Mr. Johnson.
“At the same time, we are expecting attractive returns over the intermediate term in some markets in Europe and Asia, so this is an excellent time to think about diversification and look at opportunities in those markets,” he said.
UBS Global Asset Management Real Estate Research & Strategy is forecasting positive intermediate-term results centered on 6% total return for the Canadian market. William Hughes, Global Head of the Group, suggests that near-term performance will be more impacted by perception and pricing than fundamental changes; the timing of which is very difficult to predict.
"Canadian commercial real estate has enjoyed the status of safe haven, attracting new investment capital and driving down yield. If capital becomes less risk averse and seeks higher yield, commercial real estate values may be affected" says Hughes. Investors can observe changes in market supply and demand but perception may change quickly or may not change at all.
Given the recent universal success of commercial real estate markets across Canada, diversification could be sought through investment outside the country. “UBS Global Asset Management is starting to see improvement in some of the markets that were hurt during the global financial crisis. Growing confidence and increasing yield desire may lead investors to diversify their domestic exposure,” said Mr. Hughes.
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