Real estate management
We focus on high-quality assets in a limited number of major cities and global distribution networks. Up to 7 percent of the fund can be invested in unlisted real estate.
The fund is invested in high-quality properties that can deliver a good return over time. We invest in office and retail properties in selected cities around the world, and in logistics properties that are part of global distribution networks.
We buy assets to hold for the long term, but some portfolios have assets earmarked for sale from the time of acquisition. Assets may also display different risk and return dynamics over time than initially expected or may fall outside of a slowly evolving strategy.
The return on unlisted real estate investments depends on rental income, operating costs, changes in the value of properties and debt, movements in exchange rates, and transaction costs for property purchases. More information on the return on real estate investments is available on our returns page, and in the fund's annual reporting.
A film about our real estate management
We target a limited number of global cities with common characteristics. The cities we invest in have real estate markets with sufficient scale, which enables substantial investments over time. We expect to see continued population and/or employment growth, and believe cities that attract intellectual and financial capital have the largest potential for economic growth and increased trade. In the cities we invest in, there are also constraints on the development of new real estate, whether regulatory, such as height restrictions or annual construction limits, or topographical limits such as coastlines or mountains.
In the US, we focus on New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. In Europe, we concentrate on London, Paris, Berlin and Munich. In the developed markets in Asia, we target Tokyo and Singapore. We may consider other cities if attractive opportunities arise.
The office sector forms the backbone of our strategy. We invest in high-quality office buildings in locations that will remain attractive and relevant in the longer term. Every new investment is preceded by an assessment of expected future return and risk.
Retail is a large sector that has historically generated a return that correlates with economic growth. We concentrate on markets with relatively high spending per capita.
The logistics sector has grown with globalisation. Cost pressure and expansion in e-commerce have increased the need for high-quality warehousing. We invest in logistics properties that are located near key transport infrastructure, such as motorways, railways, ports and airports.
We invest with partners in order to benefit from their local knowledge and expertise. Partnerships with well-known, reputable investors provide credibility, increase our access to investment opportunities, and give us better information on which to base investment decisions.
When choosing partners, we have attached importance to finding large and respected investors with a good knowledge of specific markets and local presence, as this enables them to take responsibility for asset management. We have sought out partners with sufficient capital and a long-term investment horizon. It is important to have alignment of interests between the fund and its partners.
The first investments
Real estate investments were initially in well-developed European markets. From 1 January 2013, the mandate to invest in real estate was broadened to include countries outside of Europe. In the initial phase the fund sought to invest with partners that have good knowledge of specific markets.
The fund announced in 2010 an agreement to acquire 25 percent of The Crown Estate's properties in Regent Street in London. The transaction was finalised in April 2011 and was the fund's first property purchase. This was followed by the purchase of a 50 percent stake in seven properties in and around Paris from AXA Group. In 2012, the fund bought its first property in Switzerland, followed by the first investment in Germany. It also invested in its first shopping centre and entered into the market for logistics properties through an agreement to invest in logistics facilities in 11 European countries. The fund's first real estate investments in the US were conducted in 2013, in New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston.
The fund's holding lists are updated annually in connection with the annual reporting.
Environmentally sustainable management
We believe that responsible and sustainable management of our properties supports our goal to achieve the highest possible long-term return. We work with partners and asset managers to integrate sustainability measures into business plans. We have published a guidance document for our partners and asset managers which identifies what we regard as responsible and commercially viable operating principles for environmentally sustainable management.
We measure the sustainability performance of all investments using the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). We use this framework to promote better reporting on sustainability in the real estate sector and compare our work on responsible real estate investment with others. We require that our partners submit information on the management of our properties to GRESB on an annual basis, and we use this information systematically when working with our partners so that we can gradually improve the properties’ quality, efficiency and environmental performance.
Our long-term goal is to obtain green building certifications for all our office and retail properties. Our sustainability strategy in the logistics sector focuses on upgrading properties to energy-efficient lighting and installing smart meters.
Real estate investments require extensive analysis, in-depth evaluation and rigorous decisionmaking. When considering an investment opportunity, we assess and make assumptions about rent developments, capitalisation rates, vacancy periods, lease terms, and refurbishment costs. We also carry out a thorough due diligence analysis of financial, legal, regulatory, taxrelated, structural, operational, technical, environmental and insurance-related matters.
The decision-making process for real estate investments is governed by investment and committee mandates, and by job descriptions. All significant investments are considered by boards and committees consisting of internal and external advisors, and all processes are well documented.
investing through subsidiaries
The fund invests in real estate through subsidiaries to ensure sound risk management and to protect Norges Bank and the fund’s assets. It is good risk management and standard practice in the real estate industry to invest through subsidiaries.
The Ministry of Finance has laid down rules for real estate investments in the fund’s mandate. These rules permit Norges Bank Real Estate Management to invest in real estate through Norwegian or foreign entities. Unlisted companies and fund structures must be registered in countries with which Norway has tax treaties or countries from which Norway is entitled to obtain tax information under other international agreements.
Real estate investments 2016
The fund’s investments in unlisted real estate returned 1.7 percent in 2016.
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