Reits have been good for Asian economies: Study

Real estate investment trusts (reits) have brought several benefits to Asian economies, an association that promotes regional real estate investment said on Tuesday.

One of these benefits is that reits allow institutional and retail investors to get a slice of income-generating real estate, the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association said in a report.

Reits also attract capital and enjoy a relatively low cost of capital, it said.

The association also said that reits have helped to improve market transparency and the quality of real estate assets.

"They unlock capital, generating additional economic output and creating more jobs," it added.

In Singapore, some market observers have blamed reits for increasing rents that push up operating costs for businesses.

One of the report's authors Mr Ken Atchison, who is managing director of asset consulting firm Atchison Consultants, said in a statement on Tuesday that the introduction of reits in Asia "has and, in the future, will broaden and deepen capital markets. This will reduce dependency on short term bank lending by mobilising longer term capital."

The association chairman Mr Lim Swe Guan noted that "Asian reits have witnessed phenomenal growth during the last decade. In the 13 years since the establishment of the first reit in Japan, Asia is now home to seven reit markets boasting a market capitalisation in excess of US$138 billion".

"The comparative advantage of the reit model combined with Asia's strong growth prospects will continue to generate interest in this investment vehicle from both retail and institutional investors."

Reit prices have been weighed down lately by fears of rising interest rates, which make reits less attractive as a yield play.