Geographic Diversification in Real Estate Investment Trusts
Real Estate Economics, 2019
39 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 18, 2019
Whether geographic diversification within property portfolios is ideal remains an open question, with most studies finding either a diversification discount or no evidence of benefits. Using a sample of equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) from 2010–2016, we find a nonlinear relation between geographic diversification and firm value. Specifically, geographic diversification is associated with higher REIT values for firms that can be described as being more transparent (i.e., they have high levels of institutional ownership or invest in core property types.) Whereas, geographic concentration is associated with higher REIT values for firms that can be described as being less transparent (i.e., they have low levels of institutional ownership or invest in non-core property types.) Operating efficiency, at both the property- and firm-levels, are the means by which the diversification value is realized. Operations improve as property portfolios become more geographically diversified for more transparent firms. When the improvements are decomposed into revenue generation and expense efficiency portions, we find revenue generation to be the main operational channel through which the benefits are obtained.
Keywords: Geographic Diversification, Real Estate Investment Trusts, REITs, Property Portfolios, Operating Efficiency
JEL Classification: R30, R32, G23, G32, G10
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