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Niel Harmse

Niel Harmse

Vice President, MSCI Research

Niel Harmse works on the real-estate research team, focusing on performance measurement, portfolio management and risk-related research for asset owners and investment managers. Prior to joining MSCI, Niel was an investment analyst at Old Mutual Property and a research analyst at Investment Property Databank. He holds a B.Com in economics and a B.Com, with honors, in econometrics from the University of Johannesburg.

Research and Insights

Articles by Niel Harmse

    Office Property: The Rise of the Smaller Floorplate

    2 mins read Quick Take | Oct 4, 2023 | Niel Harmse

    Demand for office properties has been in flux. One trend that has accelerated since the onset of the pandemic is the lean toward buildings with smaller floorplates (the leasable area per floor). We examine the patterns of investment.

    Student Housing: Passing Surge or Graduating to the Big Leagues?

    6 mins read Blog | Aug 15, 2023 | Niel Harmse

    Student housing continues to evolve as a distinct asset type. The sector outperformed the rest of the U.K. residential sector as well as the retail and office sectors over the three, five and 10 years ending December 2022.

    Property Climate Risk Varied in Asia-Pacific

    2 mins read Quick Take | May 30, 2023 | Niel Harmse

    Location and topography were decisive factors behind the impact of physical climate change on real estate portfolios, suggesting that investors may wish to consider climate risk at the individual asset level and not just at market level.

    Has Energy Efficiency Emerged as a Driver of Real Estate Returns?

    6 mins read Blog | May 12, 2023 | Niel Harmse

    Property investors are increasingly focused on climate change and net-zero commitments. Have investors who “green” their portfolios by acquiring more energy-efficient assets and disposing of higher-emitting ones gained a performance edge? 

    Property Climate Risk Varied Across — and Within — Markets

    2 mins read Quick Take | Mar 28, 2023 | Niel Harmse

    When considering climate value-at-risk for real estate portfolios and assessing prospective investments, location and topography need to be understood at the individual asset level — not just the market level.

    Real Estate Factors’ Performance: The Financial Crisis vs. Now

    7 mins read Blog | Mar 10, 2023 | Bryan Reid, Niel Harmse

    As U.K. real estate experiences a pricing correction at record pace, it’s natural to make comparisons to the 2008 global financial crisis. We draw on factors in private real estate to better understand current conditions and give us clues to what may happen next.

    Examining UK Real Estate’s Worst Quarter Since 2009

    2 mins read Quick Take | Nov 10, 2022 | Niel Harmse

    The yield of U.K. real estate recently fell below that of the 10-year U.K. government bond for the first time since 2007. This evaporation of property’s yield premium led to the MSCI UK Quarterly Property Index’s worst return since 2009. 

    Global Property Returns Ebbed with Currency a Consideration

    2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 14, 2022 | Niel Harmse

    Global real estate returns decelerated to 2.9% quarter-on-quarter in local-currency terms in the three months ended June 2022 amid rising inflation and interest rates in most key markets.

    Did Closed-End Real Estate Funds Add Value?

    6 mins read Blog | Aug 3, 2022 | Will Robson, Niel Harmse

    Global real estate markets enjoyed their strongest returns since the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) as they bounced back from COVID-19-induced weakness last year.

    What Drove 2021 Real Estate Returns?

    5 mins read Blog | Mar 25, 2022 | Niel Harmse, Will Robson

    As 2021 real estate index returns roll in, we’ve seen a broad-based acceleration of returns across nearly all countries and property types. But what can looking beyond the aggregate index returns tell us about the difference between the winners and losers?

    COVID-19’s Uneven Impact on Office Vacancy

    4 mins read Blog | Jul 26, 2021 | Niel Harmse

    What was the precise impact of the COVID-19 crisis on office properties? While the overall vacancy rate at the end of 2020 was lower than the previous cycle’s peak, the percentage of fully leased office buildings reached an all-time low.

    Translating Climate Goals into Action in Real Estate Portfolios

    5 mins read Blog | Jun 28, 2021 | Will Robson, Niel Harmse

    Many investors have made bold commitments to transition their real estate portfolios to net-zero carbon emissions and are now developing and implementing plans to achieve this goal. But what could this transition look like in practice for property portfolios?

    How Office Real Estate Performed amid COVID

    5 mins read Blog | Apr 27, 2021 | Niel Harmse

    COVID-19 disrupted real estate across countries and property segments. The biggest initial impacts were felt in retail, leisure and hotels. But more recently, the performance of listed offices has lagged.

    Was Infrastructure Solid During COVID-19?

    6 mins read Blog | Oct 27, 2020 | Will Robson, Niel Harmse

    Infrastructure investments have not been spared the effects of the pandemic. A closer look across investment types, subsectors and risk levels over time may provide useful perspective as private-capital firms and their investors manage through.

    Could COVID-19 Topple Global Cities' Dominance?

    5 mins read Blog | Oct 13, 2020 | Niel Harmse

    Property investors turned to global gateway cities to diversify portfolios and generate capital growth in the years since the 2008 global financial crisis. We assess whether COVID-19 could jeopardize the relative dominance of these power cities.

    Missed Rents’ Impact on Real Estate

    7 mins read Blog | Sep 11, 2020 | Bryan Reid, Niel Harmse

    Some commercial tenants have stopped paying rent amid COVID-19. Without rental income, property funds are not able to pay distributions to shareholders and borrowers cannot service their debt. We analyzed property-fund data to assess the impact on investors.

    COVID-19 and Real Estate: The Devil Is in the Dispersion

    Blog | Jun 23, 2020 | Fritz Louw, Niel Harmse

    Many real estate markets were showing signs of a slowdown even before COVID-19’s negative impact on property portfolios. Has this correction been similar to previous ones? We looked at dispersion of returns, within and across real estate sectors, for the answer.

    Real estate is about more than location during uncertain times

    Blog | Mar 18, 2020 | Niel Harmse

    With real estate now occupying a greater slice of multi-asset-class portfolios, factors such as lease length, may be more systematic drivers of return than previously thought. 

    Don’t confuse capital growth and asset-value growth

    Blog | Mar 21, 2019 | Niel Harmse

    Measuring real estate growth is not a simple exercise; we run through it highlighting some common confusions

    Brexit, Black Wednesday and Real Estate's Currency Risk

    Blog | Feb 25, 2019 | Niel Harmse

    When investors buy overseas real estate, they inevitably take on foreign-exchange exposure. The resulting currency-market dislocations resulted in near-term losses for some investors, but also created attractive opportunities for investors to buy real estate exposure in the U.K.