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For institutional investment purposes, real estate usually refers to the commercial sectors of office, retail, industrial (including logistics) and the leased (rather than owner occupied) residential sector. Increasingly, real estate investment also refers to debt secured against property assets and other niche strategies including student accommodation, hotels and healthcare.
The types of real estate that make up the investable market vary between countries, as do their financial characteristics. In most countries, institutional investment in the three main sectors can be found. Institutional investment in the residential sector is less common, but where available, it serves as an important sector. For example, in the UK, institutional investment in the residential sector is very low but in the Netherlands, the US and Switzerland, it is relatively high. Owning real estate not only buys the physical asset and the rights which have been granted to the land on which that asset is developed, but also the rights to the future income stream from that land and/or building. As an investor, the right to these income streams is governed by a lease with an tenant. The lease provides for the tenant to occupy, use and possess the space for the length of the lease. The owner continues to own the property, and at the end of the lease term the use and possession reverts back to the owner.
Source : UBS AG