Norway's sovereign wealth fund eyes property in global cities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 7:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 7:16am

Norway's US$855 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, will focus its future real estate acquisitions on booming global cities, its deputy chief said.

The fund, which owns on average 1.3 per cent of all listed companies worldwide, invests 1.2 per cent of its holdings in real estate but aims to increase that stake to 5 per cent over time.

Some of its properties are on London's Regent Street and Savile Row, the Champs-Elysees in Paris and in New York.

"We look for cities that are expected to see rising housing prices, that attract talent and people who are willing to pay to live in these cities," Trond Grande, the fund's deputy chief, told a business seminar last week.

"When we invest in England, we will not invest in Liverpool and Manchester. We will stick to London.

"Regent Street will be Regent Street, also in 50 years' time. The same applies to Manhattan."

While surging London house prices have been a worry for policymakers, there are signs that market is starting to cool.

The Bank of England said last Thursday: "UK commercial property markets have been recovering rapidly, supported by buoyant conditions for new lending."

The Norwegian fund owns stakes in more than 8,000 companies worldwide. Its property investments would not be as extensive as its stocks holdings, its deputy chief said.

"Our portfolio of properties is going to be more concentrated than our portfolio of shares," Grande said.

The fund was set up to invest Norway's revenues from offshore oil and gas production into stocks, bonds and real estate abroad for future generations.