Focus on property – Yields on defunct German funds jumps as they distribute cash

The move by liquidating open-ended property funds in Germany to return cash to investors has roughly doubled the sector’s average distribution yield in around five months.

The yield from the community of portfolios hovered around 3.5% early in the second quarter.

But according to the according to the September report of commercial real estate performance monitor IPD Investment Property Databank GmbH, it has jumped to nearly 7%.

By contrast, the NAV returns of the 22 open-ended property funds IPD monitors were flat in September, whereas those invested mainly in Germany made just 0.3%.

The sector’s distribution yields look much better, as shuttering funds distribute what they can to their clients.

(Those clients will no doubt welcome the cash from closed funds, but such customers were also behind most of the complaints made to the fund ombudsman of German asset management trade body Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management in the office’s first quarter’s operation.)

The whole open-ended property fund category yields, on average, 6.8%. German-focused funds yield 3.7%. European funds yield 7.5%, whereas globally focused funds yield 5.2%.

Daniel Piazolo, managing director of IPD Investment Property Databank, said the distribution yield from the sector overall had “made a significant leap in recent months” after being very stable for the past 12 years.

“The reason for this is that funds in liquidation pay out liquidity holdings that are no longer needed and proceeds from property sales to their investors,” he explained.

But Piazolo added the growth in yield is at the expense of a concomitant decrease in the value per share, “so the strong dividend yield has no direct impact on the overall return, as there is a compensating decline in capital growth. The net effect is that the overall performance of the OFIX has remained weak.”

Any moves in NAV are largely an academic affair for investors in the sector, as 10 of the 22 funds cannot be sold at NAV at present, and 10 funds are in liquidation, said IPD.

“For these funds, selling shares at short notice is only possible on the secondary market, and at considerable discounts to NAV.”


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