The Bouwinvest North America portfolio invests in residential, offices, retail, hotels and logistics real estate in metropolitan areas of North America, including – to a lesser degree – Canada and Mexico. This allows us to realise a healthy spread over different markets, sectors and regions. We work together with local partners to realise this mandate.
Bouwinvest manages three integrated international property mandates – in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe – on behalf of bpfBOUW, the Dutch construction industry’s pension fund. The North America portfolio includes investments in listed and unlisted real estate funds, joint ventures, co-investments and club deals. We invest primarily in major urban regions such as New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Seattle and Miami. Two-thirds of the investment is focused on coastal regions, where demand for real estate is – in the main – higher than in the rest of North America. These investments have delivered solid returns in recent years. Although most of our portfolio focuses on long-term investments, if the market demands it, we will sell part of our portfolio via our listed funds to realise liquidity to invest elsewhere.
The North American property market
A new chapter in the American urbanisation trend is the 18-hour cities. These are cities in North America with higher than average urban population growth and a lower cost of living than the traditional real estate markets of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. An increasing number of home hunters and companies are looking to metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Austin, Dallas and Denver. Given the steady demand for residential property in North America, Bouwinvest will continue to invest in different rental property segments in the years to come.
Growing rates of employment and consumption are also driving demand for logistics real estate. In addition, there is strong demand in North America for quality retail and office real estate. Many physical shops have disappeared with the rise of online shopping, but this has given rise to demand for shopping centres which offer an attractive customer experience. In addition, the North American office market is developing new, creative office concepts. We have recently invested in upgrading offices in important business districts, in expensive rental apartments and in several ‘more risky’ value-added funds.
Promising long-term prospects
The prospects, particularly in the long term, are promising. We expect the value of property investments to continue to grow modestly and that supply and demand will remain in balance. We expect our North America portfolio to grow to some €1.5 billion by 2020.
‘We try to profit from inconsistencies in the market.’Gijs Plantinga Director Northern American Investments