Fund-raising by realty-focused PEs dips 70% in 2009

During 2009, a total of 93 funds reached a final close receiving commitments of $40.50 billion, while last year, 228 funds raised an aggregate $134.30 billion

Funds raised by realty-focussed private equity (PE) firms declined significantly by 70% so far this year as investors exercised caution over making fresh investment commitments, reports PTI.

A total of 93 funds reached a final close in 2009, receiving commitments of $40.50 billion. Last year, 228 funds raised an aggregate $134.30 billion, according to global research firm Preqin.

As the credit crunch sent property prices into a downward spiral throughout 2009, many investors turned extremely cautious about committing money in the asset class. Also, declining returns of many real-estate funds made it difficult for managers to raise funds in 2009.

"Fund-raising to date in 2009 has reached its lowest point in recent history. 2009 has also seen an increasing number of funds closing below original target, with a number of them closing with less than half the capital they were initially targeting," Preqin said.

Of all the funds that have closed during 2009, around 77% have closed below their original target size. While in the corresponding period in 2008, the figure was 46% and in 2007 just 21% of the funds fell short of their fund-raising goals.

The report said that in contrast to 2008 when fund-raising never dropped below $20 billion in a single quarter, no quarter in 2009 to date has raised this amount.

According to Preqin, the second and third quarters of 2009 saw fund-raising levels continuing to fall, with only $6.80 billion being raised in the third quarter, representing the lowest fund-raising total since the same quarter in 2004. To date, during the fourth quarter of 2009, 15 funds have raised $6.80 billion.

"2009 has been a challenging year for the private equity real-estate industry. After years of uninterrupted success, the industry has hit difficult times; fund-raising is down and fund managers have struggled to raise capital," the report said.

However, the report noted that despite the declining trend in investment in 2009, the outlook for 2010 remains brighter.

The report said that despite declining returns over 2009, many investors did not lose confidence in the long-term benefit of investing in private equity real estate.

In fact, many PE real-estate investors, including some rather prominent institutions, decided to delay investing in the asset class until the markets had settled. Some delayed until Q4 2009, whilst others suspended programmes until 2010 or later.

"Despite (and in many ways because of) the global recession, real-estate enters into the New Year with a significant amount of funds on the road seeking large amounts of capital,” said the report.
 

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