Europe’s commercial-property market is undergoing a revitalization after the Eurozone financial crisis. Investors can play the sector through a region-specific real estate exchange traded fund.
The iShares Europe Developed Real Estate ETF (NYSEArca: IFEU), which tracks European real estate stock and real estate investment trusts, has gained 8.5% year-to-date and offers a 3.0% 12-month yield.
IFEU includes broad European country exposure, including the U.K. 37.0%, France 23.5% and Germany 9.5%,. Additionally, the ETF tracks diversified sub-sector exposure, including retail REITs 36.3%, real estate holding & development 28.7%, and industrial & office REITs 24.5%.
So far this year through August, 10 new REITs have raised $4.2 billion in assets, a record for the first eight months of a year, compared to 10 offerings with proceeds of $1.9 billion in all of 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The REIT structure has become an attractive alternative for companies seeking to trim corporate taxes and are also popular with investors since REITs are required to distribute the majority of their income as dividends.
The European real estate market, though, remains relatively small, with the market-cap of listed companies at €144.8 billion, or $186.72 billion, as of August, compared to the €282.8 billion in Asia and €497.3 billion in North America. Nevertheless, REITs are gaining traction as an easy to way to move real estate assets.
U.S. investors who are looking to participate in the Eurozone recovery can consider European REITs. For instance, George Soros’s Quantum Strategic Partners Ltd. and Paulson & Co. have purchased large stakes in new REIT IPOs in Ireland and Spain.