Swedish REITs that could work for you

Swedish REITs that could work for you

REIT Sweden deal from Evanridge


Property fund specialist Evanridge is turning its attention to Sweden for its latest vehichle.Huw Evans, director of Evanridge, said he had opted to launch Evanridge Swedish Property Two LP as a limited offer with a 5 April closing date because of the current state of the Swedish property market.


Mr Evans said he felt the Swedish property market represent and excellent low-risk investment opportunity as a result of the strongly performing economy, which combined with recently introduced reductions in personal taxation, supported increasing levels of disposable income per capita and growing property values.


In addition, he said Sweden has a shortage of rental property and a large rental market with limited development activity, which should provide secure inflation-adjusted income flows when combined with low vacancy and tent turnover rates.


Aimed at high net-worth individuals, Mr Evans said the fund aims to rate up to £10m of investor’s equity with a minimum investment of £50,000 required.


The funs is suitable for Sipp, Ssas or direct investment and projects a return of more that 12 percent a year.


Mr Evans said a investment of £100,000 is projected to return a minimum of £172,000 in 2012, net of Swedish taxation and all fees and expenses.


He said: “Swedish real estate prices remain strikingly low by European standards


“This enhances the prospect of healthy returns on the sale of Evanridge property portfolio, particularly given that institutional investors are increasingly attracted to Swedish property for its low stable income flow and rental growth prospects.”


With a fixed intial term of six years from the closing date, investor’s returns will be generated on the sale of the properties at the end of the investment period.


Mr Evans said” As the UK property market reaches the top of its cycle, we anticipate a growing interests in overseas property investment portfolios as a hedge against the correction in the domestic market.”


The launch comes after Fidelity International said back in January that region-specific property funds could become increasingly common following the global emergence of Reits.


Steve Buller, fund manager of Fidelity International Global Property fund, said the time was now right to launch such region-specific property funds because of the emergence of Reit-like structures in certain markets around the world.


He also cited the greater maturity of some property markets as a galvanising factor.


Sweden needs REIT structure


Following the real estate crisis of the early 1990s, banks built a large number of real-estate companies from distressed loans. On the Stock Exchange, companies like Norrporten, Castellum, Diligentia, Nackebro, Balder, Mandamus and Drott were listed. Even the state established real-estate companies, some with stock already owned and others on newly built stock. The largestof these are Vasakronan and AP-Fastigheter.

What has happened to these companies? To a large extent, they have all disappeared from the stock market due to acquisitions and restructuring. After the current acquisition of Tornet and Fabege, only two companies will remain, Castellum and Kungsleden, which are not locked in by their ownership. To that can be added the two state-owned companies, Vaskronan and AP Fastigheter, but these are also locked in by ownership and not exposed to financial pressures.

What are we faced with now? We have seen German funds with low earnings requirements and with clear, low risk profiles purchase newly built properties in good locations, primarily in Stockholm, with good tenants and long-term leases. At the same time, we have seen UK/US funds purchase properties with appreciably larger risks in order to restructure ownership behind these properties. We are also beginning to see the first signs of foreign investors purchasing older properties.

The influx experienced in the last years is influenced not just by the situation in Sweden, but also by the economic situation in the rest of Europe. Sweden is well positioned in the economic cycle and, above all, the opportunistic funds can expect an earlier recovery. Furthermore, we have had help from the development and increasing professionalism of the real estate market that has emerged in the last ten years. Swedish real estate owners for the most part have not participated in the restructuring process in recent years. This is mainly due to the ineffective ways real estate capital in Sweden is organised. Most of the foreign investors are organised as real estate funds according to relevant legislation and with a clear specialisation in different types of funds, risks and expected returns. This provides foreign investors with a more effective way to allocate capital and lower cost of capital. With their fund construction, they also have access to a much broader base of investors, from institutions to private investors.

What drives these developments forward is the increasingly effective use of capital. Previously, one type of real estate was concentrated on. Today, one looks for different types of capital with different returns and different types of office. German pension funds are satisfied with a return of approximately 6%. They buy newly developed office properties with the most stable tenants while UK/US risk capital acquires high-risk properties and earns money by restructuring their assets.

What does this mean for the Swedish private investor in general and for pension investors in particular? It means that the Swedish investor receives limited access to this type of real estate investment. It also means that private individuals, with the exception of the wealthiest, have no alternatives for real estate investments.

Currently, there are several attempts being made to get around this problem using fund-like structures within the Swedish legislative framework. The risk is high that these efforts will be ineffective and expensive, poorly analyzed and, moreover, inaccessible to pension savers in Swedish Premium Pension System and unit links funds or private individuals.

The solution to the problem described above is legislation for a Swedish Real Estate Investment Trust. In the rest of Europe such legislation already exists. One of the last countries in the process of introducing such legislation is Finland. Real estate funds should have a structure similar to equity funds, such as an independent legal entity that only functions as an instrument for the ownership. Taxation of ownership should be made through the owner of the fund and not the fund itself. REITs and their managers should be overseen by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.


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