ASR Real Estate B.V. invests on behalf of a.s.r.'s own account and for third party customers. Since 2020, a.s.r. Real estate has signed a management agreement with ASR Infrastructure Renewables B.V. (AIR) regarding solar and wind farms. While AIR – legally under Life segment – purchases the special purpose vehicles in which the solar and wind farms are developed, a.s.r. real estate provides services to AIR in its role as manager.a.s.r. has been investing in real estate for over 130 years.
At year-end, the real estate portfolio totalled € 7.8 billion (2021: € 7.3 billion), divided into € 5.4 billion (2021: € 5.1 billion) on behalf of a.s.r. and € 2.4 billion (2021: € 2.2 billion) on behalf of institutional investors. The total inflow of new capital from institutional investors amounted to € 0.3 billion (2021: € 0.2 billion). The asset advice by ASR Real Assets Investment Partners totalled € 6.2 billion (2021: 0), all on behalf of institutional investors.
Since the start of 2022, the war in Ukraine, back-and-forth trade sanctions with Russia, and China’s zero-COVID policy have caused a significant resource and energy supply shock worldwide, halting the strong economic recovery post-COVID-19 and swiftly pushing up inflation and interest rates. This in turn depressed economic growth in the second half-year and severely squeezed consumer spending power, a.s.r.'s returns in real estate slowed as a result. Investors are more cautious due to higher interest rates, but stayed alert because of a.s.r.’s CPI-linked contracts. Moreover, high employment rates and delayed new real estate supply supported occupancy rates and returns, indicating that hybrid working, online shopping and residential regulations are polarising and transforming markets rather than damaging them.
a.s.r. manages non-listed sector funds, which invest in retail and residential properties, offices, real estate on science parks and agricultural land in the Netherlands. These real estate funds are open to institutional investors who are looking for stable capital growth. a.s.r. also invests in renewable energy sources such as wind farms, solar parks and estates.
ASR Real Assets Investment Partners advise clients how to invest globally in indirect non-listed real estate, infrastructure and listed real estate.
a.s.r.'s objective in real estate is to create long-term value for investors. To this end, agreements have been made to generate returns at acceptable risk levels. In the longer term, it is important that a.s.r. makes a substantial contribution to the (economic) objectives of tenants and leaseholders. a.s.r. also has a strong focus on quality, believing that quality retains its value. It therefore invests continuously in maintenance, good quality materials, the sustainability of buildings and sustainable land use.
During 2022, a.s.r. acquired three additional wind farms in Almere, Amsterdam and Eemshaven and a solar park in Pesse. As a result, it now owns 48 wind farm turbines and 60,000 solar panels with a combined capacity of 205 megawatt, which is comparable to the power supply of 221,000 households per year. a.s.r. is thus contributing to the energy transition and a sustainable living environment.
Alongside dedicated efforts to reduce energy consumption, a.s.r. maintains a firm focus on increasing the renewable energy generated on-site. Since its portfolios encompass both farmland and the built environment, a.s.r. is in a position to make an important contribution to the Dutch energy transition. Real estate started placing solar panels on the roofs of its residential assets. Later the focus was on fitting solar panels on the roofs of offices, science park office and retail assets. In 2022, 5,479 solar panels were installed on roofs bringing the current total up to 20,605.
On 1 May, a.s.r. took over the activities of Sweco Capital Consultants, strengthening its position in the field of real estate and infrastructure investments. The acquisition ties in with Real estate's ambition to become a full-service real estate investment manager.
High inflation will continue to slow economic growth. Employment rates will however remain high and Dutch government regulation will help consumer spending to achieve positive levels in 2023 through tax reliefs and energy subsidies. Real estate markets will experience upward pressure on yields due to rising interest rates. On the other hand, occupier markets will remain stable, especially in market sector combinations that fit today’s end-user requirements. Hybrid working is likely to further polarise the office market, with highly accessible and multifunctional office locations and sustainable assets being the most resilient. Retail real estate has embraced omni-channel strategies and more investor interest could support indirect returns. Government regulation will depress value-added and opportunistic investors’ interest in the residential market, but highly solid fundamentals will keep occupancy rates high and core investors interested. Science park assets will continue to be key in the advanced knowledge-based economy and demand for renewables and sustainable farming will keep the rural real estate market dynamic.
Sustainability is an integral part of a.s.r.’s investment and management practice. In the coming years, the focus will lie on the further reduction of carbon emissions. As a real estate investor, a.s.r. recognises its responsibility in contributing towards liveable and sustainable buildings, towns and cities and communities. By investing in appropriate and sustainable real estate, a.s.r. aims for a positive impact on the built environment for current and future generations. a.s.r. makes targeted impact investments, accelerates the energy transition by generating renewable energy and is working towards a Paris-proof portfolio in 2045.