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Idiosyncratic risk and the cross‐section of European real estate equity returns

Idiosyncratic risk and the cross‐section of European real estate equity returns Purpose – This study is the first to examine the role of idiosyncratic risk in the pricing of European real estate equities. The capital asset pricing model predicts that in equilibrium, investors should hold the market portfolio. As a result, investors should only be rewarded for carrying undiversifiable systematic risk and not for diversifiable idiosyncratic risk. The study is adding to the growing body of countering studies by first examining time trends of idiosyncratic risk and subsequently the pricing of idiosyncratic risk in European real estate equities. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The study analyses 293 real estate equities from 16 European capital markets over the 1991‐2011 period. The framework of Fama and MacBeth is employed. Regressions of the cross‐section of expected equity excess returns on idiosyncratic risk and other firm characteristics such as beta, size, book‐to‐market equity (BE/ME), momentum, liquidity and co‐skewness are performed. Due to recent evidence on the conditional pricing of European real estate equities, the pricing is also investigated using the conditional framework of Pettengill et al. Either realised or expected idiosyncratic volatility forecasted using a set of exponential generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity models are employed. Findings – The initial analysis of time trends in idiosyncratic risk reveals that while the early 1990s are characterised by both high total and idiosyncratic volatility, a strong downward trend emerged in 1992 which was only interrupted by the burst of the dotcom bubble and the 9/11 attacks along with the global financial and economic crisis. The largest part of total volatility is idiosyncratic and therefore firm‐specific in nature. Simple cross‐correlations indicate that high beta, small size, high BE/ME, low momentum, low liquidity and high co‐skewness equities have higher idiosyncratic risk. While size and BE/ME are priced unconditionally from 1991 to 2011, both measures of idiosyncratic risk fail to achieve significance at reasonable levels. However, once conditioned on the general equity market or real estate equity market, a strong positive relationship between idiosyncratic risk and expected returns emerges in up‐markets, while the opposite relationship exists in down‐markets. The relationship is robust to firm‐specific factors and a series of robustness checks. Research limitations/implications – The results show that ignoring the conditional relationship between idiosyncratic risk and returns might result in the false realisation that idiosyncratic risk does not matter in the pricing of risky (real estate) assets. Originality/value – This study is the first to examine the role of idiosyncratic risk in the pricing of European real estate equities. The study reveals differences in the pricing of European real estate equities and US REITs. The study highlights that ignoring the conditional relationship between idiosyncratic risk and returns might result in the false realisation that idiosyncratic risk does not matter in the pricing of risky assets. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of European Real Estate Research Emerald Publishing

Idiosyncratic risk and the cross‐section of European real estate equity returns

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-9269
DOI
10.1108/JERER-03-2013-0003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This study is the first to examine the role of idiosyncratic risk in the pricing of European real estate equities. The capital asset pricing model predicts that in equilibrium, investors should hold the market portfolio. As a result, investors should only be rewarded for carrying undiversifiable systematic risk and not for diversifiable idiosyncratic risk. The study is adding to the growing body of countering studies by first examining time trends of idiosyncratic risk and subsequently the pricing of idiosyncratic risk in European real estate equities. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The study analyses 293 real estate equities from 16 European capital markets over the 1991‐2011 period. The framework of Fama and MacBeth is employed. Regressions of the cross‐section of expected equity excess returns on idiosyncratic risk and other firm characteristics such as beta, size, book‐to‐market equity (BE/ME), momentum, liquidity and co‐skewness are performed. Due to recent evidence on the conditional pricing of European real estate equities, the pricing is also investigated using the conditional framework of Pettengill et al. Either realised or expected idiosyncratic volatility forecasted using a set of exponential generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity models are employed. Findings – The initial analysis of time trends in idiosyncratic risk reveals that while the early 1990s are characterised by both high total and idiosyncratic volatility, a strong downward trend emerged in 1992 which was only interrupted by the burst of the dotcom bubble and the 9/11 attacks along with the global financial and economic crisis. The largest part of total volatility is idiosyncratic and therefore firm‐specific in nature. Simple cross‐correlations indicate that high beta, small size, high BE/ME, low momentum, low liquidity and high co‐skewness equities have higher idiosyncratic risk. While size and BE/ME are priced unconditionally from 1991 to 2011, both measures of idiosyncratic risk fail to achieve significance at reasonable levels. However, once conditioned on the general equity market or real estate equity market, a strong positive relationship between idiosyncratic risk and expected returns emerges in up‐markets, while the opposite relationship exists in down‐markets. The relationship is robust to firm‐specific factors and a series of robustness checks. Research limitations/implications – The results show that ignoring the conditional relationship between idiosyncratic risk and returns might result in the false realisation that idiosyncratic risk does not matter in the pricing of risky (real estate) assets. Originality/value – This study is the first to examine the role of idiosyncratic risk in the pricing of European real estate equities. The study reveals differences in the pricing of European real estate equities and US REITs. The study highlights that ignoring the conditional relationship between idiosyncratic risk and returns might result in the false realisation that idiosyncratic risk does not matter in the pricing of risky assets.

Journal

Journal of European Real Estate ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 29, 2014

Keywords: Pricing; Europe; Cross‐section; Idiosyncratic risk; Idiosyncratic volatility; Real estate equities

References