Year-to-date to February 28th, the Ninepoint Global Real Estate Fund generated a total return of -0.24% compared to the MSCI World IMI Core Real Estate Index, which generated a total return of 1.75%. For the month, the Fund generated a total return of 1.55% while the Index generated a total return of 2.04%.
The three main catalysts that we have highlighted in the past (the resolution of the US Presidential Election, the approval of additional fiscal stimulus and the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines) have combined to power a noteworthy sector rotation in early-2021. Across the broad equity markets, growth/momentum plays are clearly lagging value/cyclical plays, suggesting that the mega-cap technology stocks are being used as a source of funds for investments in the energy, financials and industrials sectors. In the infrastructure space, we have seen the bond proxies, such as the regulated utilities, being used as a source of funds for allocations to the energy and industrials sectors. In the real estate space, we have seen the steady performers from 2020, such as the specialized REITs and industrial REITs, being used as a source of funds for investments in the retail REITs, office REITs and hotels & resorts REITs sub-industries.
Although investors like to gravitate toward easy narratives, it is tough to find a clear explanation for the acceleration in the reopening trade during the month of February. Growth and inflation expectations have been picking up for some time now but leadership changes in the market can occur suddenly and violently due to investor positioning. Looking back, it is interesting that the certification of the US Presidential election on January 6/7 by Congress coincided with the 10-year US Treasury bond yield moving back above 1.00% (a key psychological level) for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But it was not until February, when the yield on the 10-year spiked more than 50 basis points to reach a high of 1.61%, that the move really caught investor’s attention. Reflation beneficiaries ripped higher while long-duration assets and the more-speculative areas of the market, including high-multiple growth stocks, SPACs and even early-stage clean power technology names were hit hard.
Despite the potential for some outsized moves as market participants cope with the interest rate reset, we continue to expect a broad equity rally as the world reopens through 2021 and pent-up consumer spending is unleashed. In the meantime, we are very comfortable relying on our investment process, which suggests a diversified barbell-strategy to optimize the tradeoff between risk and return over the next twelve months. But we understand that if higher rates translate into at least some degree of P/E compression, it will be crucial to pay the right price for earnings and dividend growth as GDP accelerates from the Covid-19 pandemic induced recession.
Top contributors to the year-to-date performance of the Ninepoint Global Real Estate Fund by sub-industry included Residential REITs (+56 bps), Specialized REITs (+56 bps) and Retail REITs (+43 bps) while top detractors by sub-industry included Office REITs (-50 bps), Industrial REITs (-44 bps) and Health Care REITs (-29 bps) on an absolute basis.
On a relative basis, positive return contributions from the Specialized REITs, Real Estate Operating Companies and Residential REITs sub-industries were offset by negative contributions from the Retail REITs, Office REITs and Health Care REITs sub-industries.
We are currently overweight Specialized REITs, Industrial REITs and Residential REITs while underweight Real Estate Operating Companies, Health Care REITs and Diversified Real Estate Activities. As we have said before, given our expectations for the rally to broaden through 2021 as the world reopens, we have reduced some of our outsized sector allocations. Importantly, certain sub-industries in the Real Estate sector, dependent on falling unemployment, reduced mobility restrictions and a return-to-office, may hold the potential for outsized returns on a risk adjusted basis in 2021.
At the individual security level, top contributors to the year-to-date performance included Gladstone Land (+49 bps), UMH Properties (+47 bps) and Regency Centers (+41 bps). Top detractors year-to-date included Alexandria (-41 bps), Digital Realty (-32 bps) and Aroundtown (-30 bps).
In February, our top performing investments included UMH Properties (+49 bps), Regency Centers (+47 bps) and Gladstone Land (+40 bps) while Equinix (-42 bps), Digital Realty (-23 bps) and WPT Industrial (-21 bps) underperformed.
The Ninepoint Global Real Estate Fund was concentrated in 30 positions as at February 28th, 2021 with the top 10 holdings accounting for approximately 35.9% of the fund. Over the prior fiscal year, 20 out of our 30 holdings have announced a dividend increase, with an average hike of 4.6% (median hike of 4.1%). Using a total real estate approach, we will continue to apply a disciplined investment process, balancing valuation, growth and yield in an effort to generate solid risk-adjusted returns.
Jeffrey Sayer, CFA
1All returns and fund details are a) based on Series F units; b) net of fees; c) annualized if period is greater than one year; d) as at February 28, 2021; e) 2015 annual returns are from 08/04/15 to 12/31/15. The index is 100% MSCI World IMI Core Real Estate NR (CAD) and is computed by Ninepoint Partners LP based on publicly available index information
The Fund is generally exposed to the following risks. See the Simplified Prospectus of the Fund for a description of these risks: capital depletion risk, concentration risk, credit risk, currency risk, cybersecurity risk; derivatives risk, emerging markets risk, equity real estate investment trust (REIT) risk, exchange traded funds risk, foreign investment risk, income trust risk, inflation risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk, market risk, real estate risk, regulatory risk, series risk, short selling risk, specific issuer risk, tax risk.
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