Introducing REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) to Enhance the Risk Adjusted Returns of the Risky Direct Real Estate Portfolio

David HO, Kim Hin, Justin WONG, Chia Chern


Purpose: The paper has several objectives in mind: to examine whether or not a dynamic, ex ante AHP-SAA model and a dynamic Markowitz QP TAA model that utilizes de-smoothed data, produces an investment strategy, which further optimizes the risk-adjusted return of the pan-Asian real estate portfolio. It examines the required de-smoothing and Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) for the TAA.

Design/Methodology/Approach: This paper reveals that the efficient frontier of risk-adjusted returns for direct real estate portfolio is enhanced by introducing REITS. The portfolio comprises the Pan-Asian office and industrial real estate markets for 13 major Asian cities, to which Asian REITS are added. Direct real estate total return data is in its smooth form while the REIT data is de-smoothed under the 1st and 4th order autoregressive model. The efficient frontier is constructed under a dynamic Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) model, incorporating the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. Secondly, the dynamic Markowitz quadratic-programming Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) model is adopted to obtain a geographically and real estate sector diversified portfolio.

Findings: The resulting efficient frontier with the de-smoothed data reveals a higher overall TR for every corresponding standard deviation as compared to the smoothed data. TAA for the de-smoothed returns would lie on the efficient frontier at the maximum Sharpe ratio of 1.44 with a TR on 15.30% and a standard deviation of 7.31%. Conversely, TAA for the smoothed returns would lie on the efficient frontier at the maximum Sharpe ratio of 1.31 with a lower TR of 14.2% and a standard deviation of 7.18%.

Practical implications: This paper should serve as a meaningful guide to look at an alternative asset allocation process that can be effectively adopted and refined by practitioners and researchers. It enables asset managers/or investors to deploy expert opinions on an ex ante basis for a longer term dynamic SAA model and a short term dynamic Markowitz QP TAA model.

Originality/Value: The paper offers insightful information for in adopting the AHP to develop a dynamic SAA and the dynamic Markowitz QP TAA model in utilizing de-smoothed direct real estate TR data. This paper is specific to a Pan Asian direct real estate portfolio of 13 Asian cities together with the introduction of Asian REITS, to provide greater diversification and risk-return benefits.

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