A coalition of European real estate bodies today launched a campaign for a pan-European REIT.

The leaders of the European Landowners Organization, the European Property Federation, the RICS, The European Group of Valuers’ Associations and the Urban Land Institute Europe have asked the European Commission to create a EU REIT.

This, they argue, would ‘overcome obstacles to cross-border property investment in the EU and enhance market security and stability’.

Coalition

Joaquim Ribeiro, finance director of Sonae Sierra, the international shopping centre developer, and chairman of the EU REIT Coalition, said: ‘Creating an EU REIT would turn the current fragmented EU market for property companies into the largest and likely most efficient property market in the world. Investors, small and large, private and institutional, would greatly benefit from that.’

A Maastricht University study published this week outlines a preferred structure for an EU REIT with no need for invasive tax harmonisation, as no approximation of tax rates on shareholder dividends is required.

Regimes

The study found that 13 of the 27 EU member states have REITs, whose regimes vary widely.

Piet Eichholtz, professor of real estate finance at Maastricht University and leader of the research team, said: ‘The academic literature and additional empirical evidence presented in our report highlight the very arbitrary nature of differences in national REIT structures in Europe and provide strong and fundamental arguments for the creation of an EU REIT.

‘The EU REIT does not have to be created from scratch. Both in the EU and outside of it, there is a lot of experience with these regimes, and careful analysis of this experience provides direction towards an optimal pan-EU structure.’

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