UK Reits: Reflected performance
by Gareth Lewis, director of finance and investment, British Property Federation.
There have been some negative remarks on the generally lacklustre performance of UK Reits since the market began at the start of this year. However, these comments are likely to have come from those who were expecting a significant increase in price on the actual date of conversion on January 1, and who would have been disappointed to find that the Reit premium had already built up over the previous year. It was reasonably clear by the middle of last year which companies would be in a position to convert to Reit status, and therefore the one-off benefits of conversion to Reit were already largely reflected in the share price. In fact, the defining moment for UK Reits was not January 1, 2007, but the budget announcement last March, which saw a significant increase in share prices as a result of the announcement of relatively favourable Reits legislation. I think the performance of the UK Reit market in the very short time period since January 1 therefore reflects the performance of the UK commercial property market in general, rather than any specific emerging market view on the attributes or potential of UK Reits.