Does Focus Really Matter? Specialized vs. Diversified REITs

SeungHan Ro and Alan J. Ziobrowski

Online First™, 22 May 2009

Abstract

REITs that limit their holdings to a single property type typically defend their lack of diversification by claiming the management possesses special investment expertise in that particular property type. This paper investigates whether property type specialized REITs outperform diversified REITs thus providing evidence of superior management expertise associated with specialized REITs. We compare the performance of specialized versus diversified REIT portfolios during 1997–2006 by examining abnormal returns using CAPM and the Fama-French three factor model with momentum. We find no evidence of superior performance associated with REITs specializing in a single property type. On the contrary, diversified REITs somewhat outperform specialized REITs, but not by a statistically significant margin. Also, consistent with theory, we find that specialized REITs have higher market risk than diversified REITs.Keywords  Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) – Management expertise – Property type specialization – Diversification – Efficient market hypothesis

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