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10 May 2021

Winterflood Monthly Report - May 2021

Monthly Reports

Recovery underway for UK commercial property sector

The UK commercial property sector was hit hard by the onset of Covid-19 last year. There was huge uncertainty over valuations and the vast majority of funds were forced to suspend or reduce their dividend payments as rental receipts fell. However, as the recent round of quarterly updates illustrates, there are signs of green shoots, with most funds increasing their dividend payments on the back of stabilising rental payments and an improving economic outlook.

Over the last few months, dividend increases have been announced for Alternative Income REIT, Ediston Property Investment Company, Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust, Standard Life Investments Property Income* and UK Commercial Property REIT. In addition, LXi REIT is targeting an annual dividend of 6p, higher than its pre-pandemic rate. AEW UK REIT (+5.5%) generated the best NAV total return over the first quarter of 2021, followed by Standard Life Investments Property Income* (+4.9%), BMO Commercial Property Trust* (+2.6%) and Custodian REIT (+2.6%). The laggards were Drum Income Plus REIT (-5%), followed by Ediston Property Investment Company (+0.7%). In comparison, the MSCI UK All Property Monthly Index generated a total return of +2.2% for the three-month period. 

It would be wrong to suggest that UK commercial property is out of the woods yet, with significant questions over the future of Retail and indeed Offices. However, we believe that this is reflected to an extent in the ratings of property funds and consequently contend that the sector offers attractive value opportunities for the discerning investor.