Investors who have bought swathes of the UK’s forests have seen the wood asset class outperform most others, providing a rare positive return in the otherwise beleaguered property and land sector.

Funds placed in British forests last year have seen returns outstrip other property assets as well as equities, according to data from the Investment Property Databank, with demand still strong for an investment seen as a safe haven, given its tie with longer term commodity pricing.

The IPD forestry index returned 7% in 2008, compared with a UK commercial property market that delivered -22.1% last year. The performance of the forestry sector remains significantly lower than the record levels seen in 2006 and 2007, however, when total returns of 20.6% and 31.6% were achieved.

Financial Times