Investors Hit the Pause Button on CRE Debt Strategies

Private equity investors allocated a lot of capital to CRE debt plays over the past few years. That trend has been slowing of late.

Private equity real estate funds have stepped up to be a major source of financing for the commercial real estate industry—and a bigger allocation for investors. However, fund managers may face a tougher road ahead for fundraising in the near term as capital flows to the sector slow.

Debt strategies have moved from the fringe to a more established and accepted part of the commercial real estate investment universe over the past several years. That shift has generated a significant wave of capital. According to London-based research firm Preqin, global private equity real estate debt funds have raised about $165.6 billion since 2013.

“Over the last three years in particular we’ve seen a massive amount of capital allocated to debt funds,” says Todd Sammann, executive managing director and head of credit strategies at CBRE Global Investors. The vast majority of that capital is targeting double-digit returns and is almost entirely allocated to closed-end funds. “The industry has seen fundraising trail off a little bit in 2019, which is not particularly surprising given the amount of capital that was formed,” says Sammann.

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