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MUNICH-International realtor Cushman & Wakefield said the second half of 2009 is set to see a turnaround in indirect investment flows by institutions as the “denominator effect”–cutting real estate exposure to balance-mixed portfolios against other asset classes–reverses.

“While many institutional investors used the first half of the year in particular for the strategic realignment of their portfolios in view of the global economic crisis and, as a result, made negligible investments in indirect real estate assets, there are increasing signs that we are about to enter a renewed phase of investment,” says Martin Braun, head of C&W’s capital markets group in Germany. Last year saw a 60% drop in institutional investment volumes in indirect property, but over the past few months, many have expanded holdings as a result of the disproportionate devaluation of stocks and commodity portfolios, now slightly recovered.

Christian Bock, consultant with C&W’s corporate finance team, commented, “Initially, this denominator effect adversely affected the investment activities of institutional investors, causing them to shy away from additional real estate investments. This was especially true of institutional investors such as German insurers and pension funds which are subject to certain quantitative limitations in terms of maximum real estate investment limits. With prospects of stabilization of the entire economy and a recovery of the stocks and commodities markets, there is again increasing scope for real estate investments.”

In addition to products with an investment focus on Germany, increased interest has also been observed in real estate funds investing in Anglo-American real estate in particular. “In the US and UK in particular, i.e. the two markets that experienced the most severe price corrections, it is certainly a propitious time to enter the market,” Braun said. However, he continues, investors will need to ensure they select a fund manager with proven experience, pursue a realistic business plan and get their timing right.

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