Office properties through the interest cycle: Performance impact and economic sustainability in Germany
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to estimate the impact of changes in macro-economic conditions going forward, focusing on a change in interest policy, with regard to office letting and investment markets.
Design/methodology/approach – For this analysis, the authors constructed two vector-autoregressive models, measuring the response of office rents and capital values in Germany to economic impulses. The authors isolated effects of unique exogenous positive shocks (such as economic growth or interest leaps) on the basis of impulse-response functions in order to understand the complex dynamic interdependence between several economic factors and office performance changes.
Findings – The authors initially find a moderately positive development of both office performance components even although supposing an increase in interest level. In terms of capital values, the authors find that they do not drop before 1.5 years after the interest impulse and the negative effect peaks after approximately nine quarters. Furthermore, the reaction to a change in GDP is significantly lower than a reaction to the interest rate, but impulses in other macro-economic factors provoke stronger reactions. Finally, the authors find that a positive interest shock leads to a comparably robust development and economic sustainability in office rents throughout a consideration horizon of 24 quarters.
Research limitations/implications – Estimations are based on observations from a time period containing two rather extraordinary market phases. As they included bubble growth and the low interest environment, the authors find that certain patterns in both phases neutralize each other when looking at the total time frame. The authors constructed sub-samples to compensate for this. However, the research does not provide to what extent the measured impulse-responses stay forecast-proof, if the market moves into a phase of short-term normalization.
Practical implications – This paper provides insights into estimated impulse-response patterns on a hypothetical sudden increase of several macro-economic determinants. On this basis, the probable reaction to an increase in, for example, the interest rate level can be approximated. Also, the paper provides a fundamental understanding of the economic sustainability of German office properties in terms of their value and rent performance in the case of exogenous shocks.
Originality/value – This paper contains the first vector-autoregressive, impulse-response analysis of office markets in Germany in the context of several macro-economic drivers, including the interest level. It delivers insights into market reaction patterns on the basis of simulated one standard deviation shocks in all included variables.
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