Investment Strategy

The way forward for commercial real estate investment in a challenging market

By Claire Talbot
Fund Manager - Real Estate Sydney, Australia

The return environment in commercial real estate has become more challenged, with pockets of outperformance matched by underperformance, not only across the sectors but, more frequently, within the same sector.

Against this backdrop, passive portfolio management pegged to a benchmark has begun to look outdated.

By shifting our focus to one of active management with the freedom of a benchmark-unaware approach we now have more levers to pull in terms of portfolio construction and risk management.

This means we can take a more holistic approach to the construction and management of the portfolio, better capitalising on opportunities in the real estate market and managing the downside risks.

Sector selective

A great illustration of how we can better manage risk for our investors is how our active approach has allowed us to de-weight the portfolio’s exposure to the retail sector.

Over the course of the last 18-24 months our research had helped us identify that investments in the retail sector would be challenged from a returns perspective for the next few years due to the continued rise of online shopping and cyclical headwinds such as low wages growth and a more moderate housing market.

However, the Australian Real Estate Investment Trust (AREIT) index – in which we were previously invested – has a ‘look-through’ exposure to the retail sector of about 50 per cent.

By adopting an approach that means we are no longer constrained by this passively-managed AREIT exposure, we have instead been able to build a bespoke portfolio of retail assets, being selective about the type of assets that we are comfortable holding.

These include assets such as dominant regional shopping centres, as well as neighbourhood and convenience-based centres, which have a point of difference that means customers will continue to shop there, resulting in the asset continuing to be able to attract tenants throughout the market cycle.

Backing the winners

Conversely, active management has also allowed us to double down in areas that we see providing runways to growth.

Industrial real estate, and, in particular, logistics-related assets, has been a real outperformer as it is positioned as a beneficiary of the growth in e-commerce, and as a result of our active management approach we have been able to increase our exposure to this sector.

Similarly, in the office market, we are currently focused on the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs where there has been a significant withdrawal of stock over the last few years. As a result, there’s been limited new supply in the market and that has resulted in record low vacancy rates in both of those markets.

Another structural trend that we are looking to take advantage of is the global aging population. This translates into growth in healthcare real estate facilities and low-cost retirement housing assets, such as manufactured housing. We have been able to increase our weighting to these exposures, resulting in a well-diversified portfolio.

Conclusion

By having the flexibility to target growth sectors while being selective in our exposure to under performers, we feel confident we can deliver better diversification and risk-adjusted returns for our investors.

For more information on our approach, watch our webinar: 

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Claire Talbot, Fund Manager
  • Investment Strategies
  • Investment Strategy
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Important notes

This document provides a brief overview of some of the benefits of investing in the AMP Capital Core Property Fund (the “Fund”). The adviser/financial planner remains responsible for any advice/services they provide to clients including making their own inquiries and ensuring that the advice/services are appropriate and in accordance with all legal requirements. Therefore, advisers/planners must not attribute any advice/service to AMP Capital Investors Limited (ABN 59 001 777 591, AFSL No. 232497) (AMP Capital), or in any way suggest that AMP Capital is the author of any part of that advice/service.
Investors should consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available from AMP Capital for the Fund before making any decision regarding the Fund. The PDS contains important information about investing in the Fund and it’s important investors read the PDS before making a decision about whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund. The Trust Company (RE Services) Limited (ABN 45 003 278 831, AFSL 235150) (The Trust Company), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Trust Company Limited (ABN 45 003 278 831), is the responsible entity of the Fund and the issuer of units in the Fund. The Trust Company has not prepared this information and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it. To invest in a Fund, you and your clients will need the Fund’s current PDS available from AMP Capital on its website. The PDS contains important information about investing in the Fund and it’s important you and your clients read the PDS before making a decision about whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund.

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Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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