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Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Reports Second Quarter Results and Monthly Dividend – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc. (“Bridgemarq” or the “Company”) (TSX: BRE) announced today its second quarter consolidated financial results and the approval of a monthly dividend to holders of the Company’s restricted voting shares.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue in the second quarter was $11.4 million compared to $11.8 million for the same period in 2019, on pandemic-driven weakness in Canadian real estate markets.
  • The Company generated a net loss for the quarter of $9.2 million or $0.97 per share, on a fully diluted basis compared to earnings of $7.8 million in the second quarter of 2019. The difference was due to non-cash, revaluation adjustments on the Exchangeable Units issued by the Company, driven by an increase in the Company’s share price during the quarter.
  • The Board of Directors approved a dividend to shareholders of $0.1125 per restricted voting share payable September 30, 2020 to shareholders of record on August 31, 2020.
  • The Company’s annual shareholders’ meeting will be held on August 7th, 2020 at 10 a.m. eastern time.

SECOND QUARTER OPERATING RESULTS

Revenues during the second quarter were $11.4 million, compared to $11.8 million in the same period in 2019. The decrease was primarily due to broad-based economic and real estate market weakness during the second quarter of 2020, driven by Canada’s efforts to combat the pandemic.

The Company generated a net loss for the quarter of $9.2 million, or $0.97 per share on a fully diluted basis.  These results included a $11.0 million loss on the fair value of the Exchangeable Units issued by the Company driven by an increase in the Company’s share price from $8.43 at the start of the quarter to $11.75 at June 30, 2020.  In the second quarter of 2019 the Company generated net earnings of $7.8 million which included a gain on the fair valuation of the Exchangeable Units of $6.7 million due to a decrease in the share price during that quarter.

Distributable cash flow for the second quarter of 2020 amounted to $3.1 million, compared to $4.8 million generated during the second quarter of 2019. During the quarter, the Company provided certain rebates to its franchisees under an alternate fee plan designed to help the Company’s network of REALTORS®1 and brokerages manage through the uncertain times created by the recent pandemic.  These rebates totaled approximately $1.1 million during the quarter.

“After a strong start to the year, our revenues dropped sharply at the start of the second quarter, as the Company and industry overall complied with government and public health requests to restrict brokerage services to only those consumers with critical housing needs, to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Phil Soper, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc.  “While the full impact of the pandemic on Canada’s real estate industry won’t be known for months to come, we are pleased with the pace and strength with which the market bounced back in late May and through June.

“I am immensely proud of the efforts of our team who successfully reengineered our processes to safely provide consumer clients with the critical real estate services they needed. From network-enabled virtual home showings in the field, to remote education and training at a national level, throughout the pandemic the Company has continued to provide the superior service levels our brands are famous for,” said Soper.

“Our investment in market-leading technology and services could not have come at a better time. The rollout of our new rlpSPHERE digital operating platform began during the quarter. This cloud-based, AI-driven system allows our agents and brokerages to serve existing clients and prospect for new, from anywhere on any device. It is a true market differentiator,” Soper continued.  

While, historically, our fee structure has been biased towards fees that are fixed in nature, for the period from April 1, 2020 to December 2020, the Company implemented an alternative fee plan to its Franchisees. This temporary plan is a variable fee only plan and is designed to provide financial support to the Company’s franchisees and their agents. As such, for 2020, the Company’s franchise fees will be more closely correlated with the changes in the Canadian real estate market.

The Company has deferred payments of management fees and interest on Exchangeable Units totaling $4.9 million under an agreement previously announced with Brookfield Business Partners L.P. and Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Manager Limited. These deferrals will improve the Company’s liquidity to support operations and dividends in the short term.

MARKET UPDATE

During the first quarter of 2020, the Canadian real estate market continued on a positive trajectory that began in the second half of 2019. In mid-March, the pandemic and subsequent government and public health directives to restrict the spread of COVID-19, led to unprecedented market disruption and sharply lower home sales volumes that continued through mid-May 2020. During April and May, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported a 57.6%2 and 39.8%3 year-over-year decrease in monthly sales, respectively. In June, pent up demand drove a 15.2% year-over-year increase in unit sales and a 5.4% year-over-year increase in CREA’s MLS® Home Price Index4 as consumer confidence returned and business activity began to recover. The full extent to which COVID-19 will continue to impact the Canadian Market and the business of the Company is not known at this time and cannot be reasonably predicted.

“Home prices in the second quarter rose as buyers entered the market, attracted by extremely low interest rates and the perception of bargains-to-be-had,” Phil Soper said. “Across Ontario and Quebec in particular, the demand for housing outpaced the growth in new listings. We expect to see sellers return to the market in key supply-constrained regions in numbers that appear sufficient to meet demand as the year progresses.”

CASH DIVIDEND

The Company declared a cash dividend of $0.1125 cents per restricted voting share payable on September 30, 2020 to shareholders of record on August 31, 2020. The dividend distribution represents a target annual dividend of $1.35 per restricted voting share, which is consistent with 2019.

THE COMPANY NETWORK

As at June 30, 2020, the Network was comprised of 18,921 REALTORS®, operating under 298 franchise agreements providing services from 676 locations, with an approximate 17% share of the Canadian residential real estate market based on 2019 transactional dollar volume.

SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

The Company will be holding its annual meeting of shareholders On August 7th, 2020 at 10 a.m. eastern time.  The meeting is a virtual only, live audio webcast.

To access the shareholders’ meeting, please visit https://web.lumiagm.com/116985571 and follow the login instructions. Shareholders and proxyholders will require their unique control number, which is provided by AST Trust Company Canada in accordance with the instructions provided to shareholders. Guests are welcomed to join the meeting by following the platform’s instructions on the morning of the meeting.

For more information on participation at the virtual only, live audio webcast, please review the Company’s meeting guide (http://www.bridgemarq.com/meeting-guide) and the Management Information Circular. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the virtual meeting platform, please visit https://go.lumiglobal.com/faq

DISTRIBUTABLE CASH FLOW

This news release and accompanying financial statements make reference to distributable cash flow. Distributable cash flow is defined as operating income before deducting amortization and net impairment or recovery of intangible assets, minus current income tax expense and minus cash used in investing activities. Distributable cash flow is used by the Company to measure the amount of cash generated from operations which is available to the Company’s shareholders on a diluted basis, where such dilution represents the total number of shares of the Company that would be outstanding if holders of exchangeable units converted Class B LP units into restricted voting shares. The Company uses distributable cash flow to assess its operating results and the value of its business and believes that many of its shareholders and analysts also find this measure useful. Distributable cash flow does not have any standard meaning prescribed by IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 

This news release contains forward-looking information and other “forward-looking statements”. Words such as “come”, “continue”, “predict”, “appear”, “should”, “provide”, “expect”, “recovery”, “will”, and other expressions that are predictions of or could indicate future events and trends and that do not relate to historical matters identify forward-looking statements. Reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievement expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include: the duration and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the Company’s business, the impact of government or other regulatory initiatives to address the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy, including the impact on real estate markets, changes in the supply or demand of houses for sale in Canada or in any particular region within Canada, changes in the selling price for houses in Canada or any particular region within Canada, changes in the Company’s cash flow as a result of COVID-19, changes in the Company’s strategy with respect to and/or ability to pay dividends, changes in the productivity of the Company’s REALTORS® or the commissions they charge their customers, changes in government policy, laws or regulations which could reasonably affect the housing markets in Canada, consumer response to any changes in the housing markets in Canada or any changes in government policy, laws or regulations, changes in general economic conditions (including interest rates, consumer confidence and other general economic factors or indicators), changes in global and regional economic growth, the demand for and prices of natural resources on local and international markets, the level of residential real estate transactions, competition from other real estate brokers or from discount and/or Internet-based real estate alternatives, the closing of existing real estate brokerage offices as a result of COVID-19 or otherwise, other developments in the residential real estate brokerage industry or the Company that reduce the number of REALTORS® in the Company’s Network or royalty revenue from the Company’s Network, our ability to maintain brand equity through the use of trademarks, the methods used by shareholders or analysts to evaluate the value of the Company and its publicly traded securities, changes in tax laws or regulations, and other risks detailed in the Company’s annual information form, which is filed with securities commissions and posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking information is based on various material factors or assumptions, which are based on information currently available to management. Material factors or assumptions that were applied in drawing conclusions or making estimates set out in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: anticipated economic conditions, anticipated impact of government policies, anticipated financial performance, anticipated market conditions, business prospects, the successful execution of the Company’s business strategies and recent regulatory developments, including as the foregoing relate to COVID-19. The factors underlying current expectations are dynamic and subject to change. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management believes are reasonable assumptions, the Company cannot assure readers that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

About Bridgemarq Real Estate Services

Bridgemarq is a leading provider of services to residential real estate brokers and a network of approximately 19,000 REALTORS®1. We operate in Canada under the Royal LePage, Via Capitale and Johnston & Daniel brands. For more information, go to bridgemarq.com.

Bridgemarq is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners, a business services and industrials company focused on owning and operating high-quality businesses that benefit from barriers to entry and/or low production costs. Brookfield Business Partners is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Further information is available at bbu.brookfield.com.

_____________________________

1 The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

2 CREA, Canadian home sales and listings post record declines in April 2020, May 15, 2020.

3 CREA, Canadian home sales and new listings on the rise in May, June 15, 2020.

4 CREA, Canadian home sales and new listings up again in June, July 15, 2020.

Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc.









(Unaudited, in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share information)


















June 30,


December 31,





Interim Balance Sheet Highlights


2020


2019





Cash

$

9,418

$

5,202





Other current assets


5,410


4,943





Total current assets


14,828


10,145





Non-current assets


81,330


84,648





Total assets

$

96,158

$

94,793























Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

$

2,197

$

1,210





Interest payable on Exchangeable Units


968


484





Dividends payable to shareholders


1,067


1,067





Contract transfer obligation


842


1,920





Total current liabilities


5,074


4,681





Debt facilities


73,358


73,338





Deferred payments


4,012






Other non-current liabilities


6,469


4,194





Exchangeable Units


39,100


48,983





Total Liabilities


128,013


131,196





Shareholders’ deficit


(31,855)


(36,403)





Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ deficit

$

96,158

$

94,793
















Three months 


Three months 


Six Months


Six Months



ended


ended


ended


ended



June 30,


June 30,


June 30,


June 30,

Interim Earnings Highlights


2020


2019


2019


2019

Fixed franchise fees

$

1,276

$

7,267

$

8,817


$          14,593

Variable franchise fees


8,467


3,233


11,086


5,378

Other revenue


1,651


1,338


2,613


1,984

Revenues


11,394


11,838


22,516


21,955










Cost of other revenue


(165)


(153)


(284)


(262)

Administration expenses


(174)


(316)


(829)


(714)

Management fees


(4,203)


(4,013)


(8,279)


(7,707)

Interest expense


(732)


(757)


(1,482)


(1,522)



6,120


6,599


11,642


11,750

Impairment, write-off and amortization of intangible assets


(2,311)


(2,807)


(4,730)


(5,945)

Interest on Exchangeable Units


(1,452)


(1,452)


(2,904)


(2,904)

Gain (loss) on fair value of Exchangeable Units


(11,048)


6,655


9,883


(1,132)

Loss on interest rate swap


(211)


(460)


(2,546)


(1,429)

Gain on deferred payments


881



881


Income tax expense


(556)


(703)


(1,286)


(1,432)

Deferred income tax recovery (expense)


(599)


(80)


10


452

Net and comprehensive earnings (loss)

$

(9,176)

$

7,752

$

10,950

$

(640)

Basic earnings (loss) per Restricted Voting Share

$

(0.97)

$

0.82

$

1.15

$

(0.07)

Diluted earnings (loss) per Share

$

(0.97)

$

0.20

$

0.31

$

(0.07)










Interim Cash Flow Highlights









Cash provided by operating activities:

$

10,485

$

4,658

$

13,375

$

6,117

Cash used for investing activities:


(1,845)


(1,002)


(2,757)


(1,964)

Cash used for financing activities:


(3,201)


(3,201)


(6,402)


(4,402)

Change in cash for the period


5,439


455


4,216


(249)

Cash, beginning of the period


3,979


3,635


5,202


4,339

Cash, end of the period

$

9,418

$

4,090

$

9,418

$

4,090










Interim Distributable Cash Flow Highlights


















Distributable Cash Flow

$

3,719

$

4,894

$

7,599

$

8,354

Distibutable Cash Flow per Share

$

0.29

$

0.38

$

0.59

$

0.65












Twelve months


Twelve months







ended


ended







June 30, 2020


June 30, 2019














Distributable Cash Flow

$

16,988

$

18,131





Distibutable Cash Flow per Share

$

1.33

$

1.42





SOURCE Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc.

For further information: Sarah Louise Gardiner, Director of Investor Relations, Bridgemarq Real Estate Services, [email protected], Tel: 416-510-5783

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Real estate investors brace for new Liberal laws – Business in Vancouver

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Thomas Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, says the best way to keep housing prices from rising is to have policies that encourage home construction and more rental housing | Rob Kruyt

If real estate investors needed clarity on what the general public thought about the practice of buying and flipping Metro Vancouver homes, they got it in the 2021 federal election. 

Vancouver Granville Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed came under heavy fire after the media revealed that since 2005, he had bought and sold at least 21 homes within timeframes shorter than one year.

Many took to social media to express outrage that the Liberal Party of Canada candidate would do that when the party was promising to implement an “anti-flipping tax” that would be over and above the capital gains tax that real estate investors already have to pay on those sales.

Coverage of Noormohamed’s dealings may have almost cost him the riding, which he was able to win in a squeaker when mail-in ballots were counted. 

The issue became a flashpoint because the high cost of housing was a key issue for many voters.

Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting’s latest rent report revealed that the asking price for Vancouver one-bedroom apartments rose 15.7% in September compared with the previous September. That was the highest increase in the country. The $2,167 average monthly price for a one-bedroom apartment that landlords were asking in Vancouver was also the highest rate in the country. 

The Liberals winning a minority government provides some clarity of what policies could be on the horizon to battle housing affordability. 

In order for a newly purchased property to qualify as a principal residence for tax purposes, the owner must live in the property for at least one year. The result is that the tax that the Liberals have proposed for home resales would only be for properties that are not considered primary residences. 

The Liberals would also need support from another party in Parliament to legislate the plan. 

If the Liberals succeed in passing the plan, it will not be a silver bullet to affordability, said Thomas Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.

“The reason people speculate is because they think prices are rising,” Davidoff said. 

The best way to keep prices from rising, he added, is to have policies that encourage home construction and more rental housing. 

He praised the Liberals for recently tweaking the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s mandate to include rental housing, which he said could help create more rental units. 

On the campaign trail, the Liberals promised to build, repair or preserve 1.4 million homes in the next 10 years.

The party also said a Liberal government would double the first-time home buyer tax credit – something Davidoff called inflationary because it gives new buyers more purchasing power. 

The current system provides first-time homebuyers with a $5,000 non-refundable income tax credit. Doubling that amount would put up to $10,000 in those buyers’ pockets.

“There will be action on the foreign buyers and foreign capital file,” said Simon Fraser University director of the City Program, Andy Yan. 

The Liberals promised in the campaign to implement a two-year ban on allowing foreign nationals to buy homes in Canada, but Yan doubts that the ban will materialize.

“If anything, it will be a foreign buyers’ tax, because, hey, that’s income,” he said.

Real estate developers, such as Hold It All owner Chip Wilson, similarly, like the idea of taxing foreign buyers more than banning them.

“Let them buy, but make them pay a premium,” Wilson told BIV.

Yan said that if the Liberals implement a new tax on reselling homes within a year of purchase, the levy is unlikely to evolve into being a tax on homes resold within longer timeframes. 

Doing so, he said, would mean taxing primary residences, and though that would be popular among some voters, others would be irate.

A flipping tax is aimed at deterring speculative real-estate purchases, Yan said, whereas taxing principal residences is just a money grab.

Real Estate Wealth Lab chief intelligence officer Jennifer Hunt told BIV that she expects the Liberals will try to win support from another party to introduce a new multi-generational home-renovation tax credit for homeowners who want to add secondary units to their homes to accommodate immediate or extended family members.

Those upgrades would increase real estate values and could be inflationary.

The Liberals promised in the campaign that homeowners would be able to claim a 15% tax credit, up to $50,000, in renovation and construction costs for these upgrades. That means homeowners doing those renovations could pocket up to $7,500.

Another Liberal housing promise that hinges on support from the NDP, or another party, is to provide $1 billion in loans and grants to develop, or scale-up, rent-to-own projects with private, non-profit and co-op partners. 

A typical rent-to-own scenario could be one where an individual commits to rent a property for a period of time and receives the option to buy the real estate at a locked-in price before the end of the lease.

“The policy that would be more likely to get passed, based on NDP support, would be to double the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit,” Hunt said.

The NDP promised in the campaign to extend the maximum amortization period for mortgages to 30 years, and this could be a part of horse-trading that the party engages in with the Liberals to support policies that the Liberals want to put in place, she said.

That Liberal policy could be the flipping tax, but Hunt still gives that policy only a moderate chance of becoming law.

“I don’t believe that the appetite from the other parties would allow for that policy to go through,” she said. •

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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Joseph Montanaro pleads guilty after letting someone else complete his real-estate training | CTV News – CTV News Montreal

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MONTREAL —
One of Montreal’s top real-estate agents — one who just handled the sale of the premier’s mansion — is expected to pay a $20,000 fine after pleading guilty to breaching his industry’s ethics code.

Joseph Montanaro entered the guilty plea Tuesday during a disciplinary hearing for the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), the body that governs real-estate brokers in Quebec.

The complaint, filed by OACIQ official Alexandra Tonghioiu, stated that between 2018 and 2019 Montanaro “allowed, permitted or requested a third party to take training courses in his place in order to complete his OACIQ continuing education program training program.”

The offence is in violation of several sections of the Real Estate Brokerage Act. Brokers are required to accumulate “a certain number of continuing education credits” to complete the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP) every two years in order to maintain their licence and to keep their knowledge of the industry up to date, according to the OACIQ website.

Lawyers for Montanaro and the OACIQ agreed on the $20,000 penalty, which the discipline committee accepted after receiving a joint summary of facts in the case.

It’s believed to be one of the highest fines ever issued for realtors in Quebec.

AGENT SOLD PREMIER LEGAULT’S MANSION

Montanaro, who counts celebrities like Céline Dion and hockey player PK Subban among his previous clients, is one of Montreal’s highest-profile brokers, specializing in the sale of multi-million dollar homes in the city’s wealthiest neighbourgoods. 

Two weeks ago, he sold the 18,000-square-foot mansion of Premier Legault. The Victorian-style home in Outremont was listed for $4,995,000 and has eight bedrooms.

The home sold for less than the listing price, a source confirmed to CTV News.

The complaint against him appears to have been brought on by some bad blood within the real-estate market in Montreal. OACIQ was notified of the violation from Montanaro’s competition, according to his lawyer Alain Mongeau, who attended the hearing on Tuesday.

“It came in from the competition — people that are competing with Mr. Montanaro in the real-estate market,” Mongeau told CTV.

In explaining the nature of the offence, he said an ex-employee of Montanaro did the training on his behalf and claimed that he authorized it, but Montanaro doesn’t recall approving it, Mongeau explained.

“It’s a mistake and he’s sorry for it,” Mongeau said, adding that the whole process was allegedly fueled by Montanaro’s rivals.

“He’s angry that his competition would try to compete in this fashion rather than by providing good services,” he said.

“It’s an actual complaint by competition — why would they do that? It’s to harm his reputation for their own benefit.”

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Novel $10.7 Billion Swedish Deal Reinvents Real Estate Finance – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — A historic shift in how Swedish property firms fund themselves was already underway before a little-known private company revealed a $10.7 billion acquisition that will put the trend firmly on the map.

Heimstaden Bostad AB — owned by Ivar Tollefsen’s Fredensborg AS and pension funds — says it will use debt capital markets to refinance a jumbo bridge facility for the largest ever private property transaction in the Nordic region. 

The deal highlights a shift by real estate companies in the biggest Nordic economy into both bonds and euros. The trend is driven by a quantitative easing-fueled property boom that’s allowing companies to raise more money than is available in the local market.

“The real estate sector has grown so much because companies have replaced secured bank financing with unsecured bond financing,” said Max Berger at DWS Investment GmBH. More broadly, Europe’s property industry has become “the fastest growing in euro investment grade in the last couple of years.” 

Since 2010, the number of real estate issuers in the euro investment grade market has increased to 69 from five, according to Berger, who manages 6 billion euros ($7 billion) of bonds. Euros have now overtaken Swedish krona as the main funding currency for outstanding bonds sold by the country’s property companies.

Heimstaden Bostad’s bridge loan “will clearly be refinanced mainly in euro bonds,” said Anders Holmlund, head of bond origination at Svenska Handelsbanken. The banker adds that the domestic krona market “isn’t a realistic alternative” given the short time frame.

The boom in real estate bonds can be seen in its dominance of the Swedish central bank’s balance sheet, where more than half of the Riksbank’s corporate bond holdings come from property companies.  

The European Central Bank’s bond-buying program is adding further fuel to the market, according to Holmlund.

And the broader buyer base is allowing Swedish property companies to expand massively. Samhallsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB, for example, announced a plan recently to nearly triple its property portfolio size to 300 billion kronor ($34.4 billion) by 2026. 

“We will focus more on euro in the future,” Marika Dimming, a spokesperson, said in an interview. “It’s a natural progression for us,” she said, adding that “the trend is also to set up a subsidiary in the euro area so that the bonds can be bought by the ECB in their QE program,” she said. 

But a summer rally in Swedish house prices, warnings of excessive valuations in share prices and concerns about a withdrawal of central bank stimulus have stoked concern among politicians and analysts alike.

Equity analysts at Svenska Handelsbanken said they have “a clear negative tilt towards the sector universe,” citing “disturbances in the increasingly important capital markets” triggered by QE tapering as a possible downside catalyst.

Still, euro bond investors are attracted to Swedish residential firms’ risk-return profile compared with western European office companies, said DWS’s Berger.

“Nordic players have provided us with interesting sub-sectors that have defensive characteristics, but trade in line with the wider sector,” the Frankfurt-based portfolio manager said, adding that sub-sector selection within real estate is key to making profitable investments.

“The pandemic has been a good stress test for real estate companies’ balance sheets,” he said. “Even hotel and retail focused companies have weathered the pandemic.”

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