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City looks to REITs for new building sites

ANALYSTS are hoping for a wave of new property developments as three of Britain’s largest listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) report their year-end numbers this week.

British Land, Great Portland Estates and Land Securities will all reveal increases in the value of their portfolios, according to City consensus. The trio of positive results will herald the ongoing recovery of publicly-traded real estate companies, which surprised investors with their strong performance in the fourth quarter.

But the most keenly-watched element of the announcements will be the investment trusts’ remarks on fresh building projects.

British Land, whose net asset value (NAV) is forecast to increase 5.5 per cent to 462p per share quarter-on-quarter, bought a re-development site in the West End in April.

Evolution Securities analyst Paul Pulze said: “Until [then], British Land had done little investment or development activity compared to its major peers. We will be looking to management comments on its current investment strategy in the short-term.”

Land Securities, which is predicted to raise its NAV 22.5 per cent to 692p per share half-on-half, will also update the market on three developments just started in the West End.

Great Portland Estates, meanwhile, is tipped to hike its NAV 10 per cent to 275.2p per share. Evolution said news on the company’s development pipeline would be crucial.