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Trading constraints and the investment value of real estate investment trusts: an empirical examination

Mühlhofer, Tobias (2005) Trading constraints and the investment value of real estate investment trusts: an empirical examination. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study focuses on the property-derived cash flows that a REIT investor earns. We observe that, in the short run, REIT investors are only exposed to the income cash flows of a REIT's underlying portfolio and not to its property price fluctuations. Specifically, investors miss out on the component of appreciation returns not contained in income. Chapter 3 observes this phenomenon and argues, without proof, that this is due to the trading restrictions that REITs face in order to operate tax free, which impose minimum holding periods on properties in REITs' portfolios. Chapters 4 and 5 show that the trading-restrictions explanation is indeed the reason for this phenomenon. Specifically, chapter 4 tests how REITs with different firm characteristics are differently affected by the trading constraints. Firstly, we test for size effects and find that medium-sized and large firms offer investors better exposure to short-term fluctuations in property appreciation than small firms. This supports the trading restrictions hypothesis, as large firms are less affected by these. Secondly, we test for the effects of the degree of diversification in a REIT's portfolio and find that, while investing in a REIT which is diversified by property type gives an investor better exposure to appreciation cash flows, investing in one whose portfolio is merely geographically diversified does not. Finally, we test whether UPREITs give an investor better exposure to property appreciation cash flows and find strongly that this is so. Since the partnership that holds the property in an UPREIT is not subject to selling constraints, we find our hypothesis strongly supported. Chapter 5 analyzes holding periods and selling decisions. We firstly simulate a possible filter-based market timing strategy which significantly outperforms a simple buy-and-hold strategy, and demonstrate to what extent holding periods shorter than what is allowed are required. We then analyze actual holding periods of properties in REITs' portfolios and model the decision to hold a property beyond four years, finding strong evidence that there is an incentive to do so in a rising market. This gives strong support to the trading-restrictions explanation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2005 Tobias Mühlhofer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Overman, Henry G.

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