When future economic analysts reflect on the historical crises that have shaken global markets to their core, they may settle upon 2020 as the year that delivered the most profound shock of them all.

Covid-19 has been disruptive on a grand scale. Millions are set to lose jobs, global trade hampered and entire industries brought to the brink. Many countries are now in, or are facing, deep recessions. In its Global Economic Prospects report, published in June, the World Bank refers to “lasting scars” as it predicts global growth will contract by 5.2 percent in 2020 – advanced economies shrinking by 7 percent, and developing and emerging economies by 2.5 percent.

So, against this backdrop, we might well expect to be reading apocalyptic accounts of the state of the real estate markets. Not so. Indeed, the analysis presented in the following pages reveals a sector that is holding up well, all things considered – and so too is the confidence of major institutional investors in the asset class. The top 50 in PERE’s Global Investor 100 ranking collectively contributed just north of $1.1 trillion in the 2020 ranking, compared with $1 trillion in 2019.

Though not spectacular growth, it is not a decline either, and does not reflect institutions panicking in response to the wider tricky conditions they are operating in, whether it be pandemic-related or geopolitical.

The story in 12 months’ time may well be very different.

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