Our Association

The SPR has been representing property researchers since 1987.  Their seminars debate topical issues and the networking opportunities are unrivalled.  (They also count towards CPD hours.)  Junior analysts are able to rub shoulders with Heads of Research Departments often in informal situations.  SPR often collaborates with other associations to offer events with a wider appeal and is a member of the Property Industrial Alliance group.  Site visits are arranged for members to see 'behind the scenes' of major developments and SPR members also have the opportunity to access discounted rates to attend related courses and conferences organised by similar organisations.

Report on recent SPR events

Joint SPR / IPF Seminar on Understanding Property-Level Risk
Thursday 22nd November 2018, LaSalle Investment Management

Much work to do on property-level risk
Few would dispute that stock selection is a crucial aspect of real estate investment, especially in a lower return environment, said Simon Marx, Investment Strategist at LaSalle Investment Management, who chaired the meeting. But property-level risk is an aspect of real estate research that is still in its early stages of development.

Indeed, the industry still lacks consistent definitions for property-level risk, suggested Chris Arnold, Head of Quants, Data Analytics and Systems, European Real Estate at Fidelity International.  For example, are we concerned about uncertainty or volatility?  Downside risk tends to attract most attention, but comparisons can be difficult, particularly where valuation data needs to be used as a proxy for price.

Still, digital technology is helping extend the range of potential techniques such as a scenario testing, sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulations, making it possible to envisage and explain outcomes based on many different data assumptions.

It also allows for the adoption of a wide range of asset descriptors that can be used as ‘factors’ to explain and potentially to forecast performance.  This is the thinking behind the rating system being developed by Olivier Mege, CEO and Founder at Real Quality Rating.  He stressed that any system for measuring property quality needs to be objective but also all-embracing and comparable.  If this sounds like a tall order, for Mege it has meant incorporating more than 150 separate descriptors as a basis for rating, which are weighted dependent on the views of a broad swathe of more than 1000 industry practitioners from across Europe.

Nadja De Jager, Director of CBRE Global Investment Partners proposed that assessing property-level risk is still a challenge, not least due to the lack of development in valuation practices, though this may improve as technology innovations take hold.  Investors are demanding much more information about asset-level risk, but there is a tendency for real estate practitioners to claim it is too heterogeneous for ‘quant’ type analysis.

Any assessment of property-level risk must be grounded in a strong understanding of how markets are evolving, insisted Lu Li, Head of Investment Risk, Aviva Investors. To have any value views of risk need to be forward-looking, for example taking account of structural change in retailing and logistics.

Tim Horsey

Report on recent SPR events

Retirement & Healthcare: An Introduction
Thursday 29th November 2018, Savills, London W1

Real estate for an ageing population

The UK’s population is set to grow by 10% over the next 20 years, but the number of those over 60 will increase even more as baby boomers come into this age bracket, explained James Purvis, Associate Director, Tristan Capital Partners. Although there are questions about the sustainability of pensions in the light of falling bond yields, this group should still be better off than any previous generation of retirees – and therefore the demand for retirement and healthcare real estate should continue to grow.

Thinking about the residential needs of this ageing population, Victoria Wallace, Associate Director, Healthcare, Savills described the UK’s evolving retirement living sector.  Although there are over 750,000 retirement housing units currently in existence, most of these were built before 2000 and are of poor quality. To meet the burgeoning demand, a number of new operators have emerged including Audley Villages, McCarthy & Stone, Extra Care Charitable Trust and perhaps most interestingly Birchgrove, who are developing a pure rental model (as against the more common build to sell), though they have yet to start work on their three sites.  Wallace emphasised that such projects need to fulfil a range of requirements including proximity to transport and services, a strong local catchment, affordability and a fit with local planning frameworks.

An older population also means increasing demand for healthcare, and more primary care facilities are likely to be located in the community, given the funding pressures facing the NHS and the desire to limit the demand for hospital places. Healthcare REIT Assura is part of this trend, having now established a £1.8 billion portfolio comprising more than 550 healthcare centres across the UK. Assura’s Head of Investment, Patrick Lowther explained that these facilities often go well beyond housing GP surgeries to allow for out-patient treatments and mental health provision, for example, and are generally designed around the needs of older patients.  In terms of tenure, they are usually leased to a GP partnership, whose rent is then reimbursed by the NHS.  Lowther did however stress that the initial approval for such arrangements could be a lengthy process.

Tim Horsey

Chair's blog

Coming soon!

Oliver Kummerfeldt


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