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Daiwa to expand real estate trust business as low rates persist

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Daiwa Securities Group is expanding its real estate investment trust business as low interest rates continue to drive investors into domestic property funds.

[TOKYO] Daiwa Securities Group is expanding its real estate investment trust business as low interest rates continue to drive investors into domestic property funds.

Japan's second-biggest brokerage is preparing to start a new private-placement Reit and considering having existing trusts issue new shares to raise money for expansion, said Toshio Fukushima, president of its Daiwa Real Estate Asset Management unit.

Mr Fukushima said he expects the combined assets of real estate investment trusts under his firm's management will increase to more than 1 trillion yen (S$12.33 billion) next year from around 900 billion yen as of September. The company currently oversees five Reits.

"We are looking to increase our assets for the time being because it is quite possible that more money is waiting to flow into the market," Mr Fukushima said in an interview. Buying Reits from other companies is one option to bolster assets, he said, while noting that decisions involving acquisitions are up to the parent company.

Japan's exchange-traded Reits are hovering near 12-year highs as institutional investors seek returns to make up for negative yields on government bonds.

Banks have extended a record 80 trillion yen in loans to the real estate sector, central bank figures show, as office vacancies shrink and property prices rise.

Daiwa Real Estate Asset plans to merge two of the five Reits – Japan Rental Housing Investments Inc. and Nippon Healthcare Investment Corp – in April next year as part of efforts to strengthen its business, according to statements last month.

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