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Latin America: Reit turn ahead?

Latin America’s real-estate investment trust market has stalled in the face of a general pullback in emerging market investing. In the longer term, however, this could be the shock that spurs on a sector held back by asset size and asset scarcity.

by Ben Edwards

Mexico real estate-R-600

Bright spots amongst the grey for Mexico's real-estate market

In Mexico City’s upmarket Lomas neighbourhood there is a skyscraper that locals have dubbed ‘El Dorito’ because of its inward-sloping side that resembles the wedge-shaped corn chip. Torre Virreyes, the building’s official title, is the most iconic product of Mexico’s booming real estate investment trust market and a symbol of its early success.

Mexican Reits – Fideicomisos de inversion en Bienes Raices, or Fibras – have grown rapidly over the last five years, jumping from just one in 2011 to around a dozen in early 2016. That swift expansion has been the envy of other Latin American countries as the region seeks to shift real estate funding from private capital to public markets.

Now, as the US raises interest rates and market volatility unnerves emerging-market economies, the Fibra industry faces its first proper test. El Dorito, which looks as if it might easily topple over, could take on a new symbolism.

The performance of Mexican Reits has been mixed of late. Collectively they suffered their first annual loss in 2015; the Fibras index fell almost 7%, according to Grupo BMV.

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