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CANNES-As stateside REITs succumb to the allure of the privatesector, the fledgling trust market in Europe continues to fire onall cylinders, and the progress of new countries adopting REITstructures and new trusts forming in countries that have alreadyembraced the trust concept are expected to continue unabated.Fraser Hughes, research director of the European Public Real EstateAssociation, the sister organization to the Washington, DC-basedNational Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, says thatcomparisons between the two dynamics is unfair.


"Around the world, you have REIT structures at different stagesof maturity," he states. "The US has had a REIT structure in placesince 1960, but in Asia and Europe it's still in its infancy." Therelative periods of time these structures have been in place makescomparisons difficult at best, he believes. But, "That doesn't meanthat 15 years from now, when these markets are mature, you won'tsee in Europe the level of consolidation we're seeing in theUS."


But it's more than just timing, and Hughes argues that it's alsoa matter of inventory. While the European market pooled togetherwould overshadow the size of the US real estate market, in the US,"There's a lot more in the public domain," he states. "That meansthat you're going to get a lot more of the Blackstones of the world[referencing Blackstone's recent buy-out of Equity OfficeProperties] coming in and taking out public companies." In essence,bigger targets accumulate more arrows.


"My view is that the trend is not an issue," he says. "Rightnow, we're more concerned with encouraging individual countries toadopt the REIT structure." He concluded with his confidence thatthe long-awaited German REIT structure, as well as a similar formin Italy, will be in place before the end of the year, and thatmore companies will file for status within the structure launchedin the UK on Jan. 1 of this year.

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John Salustri

John Salustri has covered the commercial real estate industry for nearly 25 years. He was the founding editor of GlobeSt.com, and is a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Journalism award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.