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Will Robson

Will Robson

Executive Director & Head of Real Estate Solutions Research

Will Robson is Executive Director & Global Head of Real Estate Solutions Research. He is responsible for the direction and delivery of MSCI’s applied real estate research agenda. Previously, Will spent close to five years and was a founding member of the real estate research team at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Will holds both an MSc and BA in Economics from the University of York and University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Research and Insights

Articles by Will Robson

    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.

    Global Real Estate Returns at a Turning Point?

    2 mins read Quick Take | Jul 12, 2022 | Will Robson

    Global real estate returns accelerated to 17.8% on a 12-month rolling basis in the first quarter of 2022 despite the growing headwinds of geopolitical tensions and associated rising inflation and interest rates, the debut results of the MSCI Global Quarterly Property Index show.

    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?

    2022 Private-Asset Trends to Watch

    6 mins read Blog | Jan 13, 2022 | Will Robson

    Private-asset investors are waking up to the urgency of the climate crisis, while dealing with other long-term disruptive trends that accelerated during the pandemic. We may see a substantial reallocation of capital as investors respond to these challenges.

    Benchmarking Pan-Regional Real Estate Funds

    5 mins read Blog | Sep 2, 2021 | Will Robson

    Real estate investors have increasingly sought pan-regional funds to diversify globally. But such funds’ exposures can be significantly different from the market at large. What’s an appropriate benchmark for these diversified fund investments?

    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?

    Real Estate’s Climate-Transition Risk: The Path to Net-Zero

    5 mins read Blog | May 25, 2021 | Will Robson

    The 2015 Paris Agreement seeks to keep the rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and many governments are aiming for 1.5°C through nationally determined contributions. What are the implications for real estate markets?

    2021 Real Estate Trends to Watch

    4 mins read Blog | Jan 12, 2021 | Will Robson

    COVID-19 has caused a severe and rapid economic contraction and accelerated secular changes already hitting parts of the real estate markets. Investors face a fundamental question: How will real estate evolve as a sector and asset class? Here are our 2021 real estate trends to watch.

    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.

    2020 Emerging Real Estate Trends

    Blog | Jan 16, 2020 | Will Robson

    From managing climate risk to advances in analytics, 2020 may be a watershed year for real estate. Read our top five emerging trends likely to be front of mind for global real estate investors in 2020 and beyond

    Research Snapshot: MSCI Real Estate Report

    Research Report | Dec 5, 2019 | Will Robson

    This year's research snapshot explores the investment challenges facing the industry from the risks of late cycle investing to disruptive technology and how to incorporate ESG into your investment strategy. The snapshot also provides an overview of global property market trends across sectors and markets and as part of the wider MSCI business we also explore issues relevant to institutional investors, such as looking at real estate in a multi-asset class context.

    Digging deeper into pan-European property funds’ performance

    Blog | Nov 26, 2019 | Will Robson

    Property investors who invest across a broad region, like Europe, can use a peer-group benchmark to gauge relative performance. But to determine the specific drivers of returns, detailed asset-level performance attribution can help shed light.

    Underwater assets? Real estate exposure to flood risk

    Blog | Sep 17, 2019 | Will Robson , Gillian Mollod

    Real estate investors are buying and leasing assets that might be jeopardized by a climate-changed world. A new analysis can help investors identify high-risk U.K. locations.

    Have appraisers been too bullish on retail real estate?

    Blog | Jul 30, 2019 | Will Robson

    Media commentary has fixated on the shuttering of shops, while retail-focused REITs are priced at substantial discounts to the value of their assets. Have appraisers of retail real estate been excessively bullish?

    2019 Emerging Real Estate Trends

    Blog | Feb 5, 2019 | Will Robson

    For real estate investors, 2019 may be a year of adjusting to rapid changes arising from a variety of sources, including environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) risks; geopolitical uncertainty; and disruptive technology.

    MSCI Real Estate Research Snapshot

    Research Report | Dec 3, 2018 | Jay Mcnamara , Will Robson

    This year’s Real Estate Research Snapshot highlights the broad range of investment problems MSCI Real Estate’s data can be applied to. With emphasis on the importance of global consistency in data we provide an overview of global property market trends across sectors and markets. As part of the wider MSCI business, we also explore issues relevant to asset owners, looking at real estate from a higher perspective. Questions surrounding interest rate risk and currency hedging are addressed here,...

    Benchmarking in Real Estate: Beyond Performance Measurement

    Research Report | Nov 27, 2018 | Bryan Reid , Will Robson

    Investors allocate to private real estate for a myriad of reasons, which means their investment objectives can vary substantially.   As such, investors articulate their objectives in various ways such as market-based benchmarks, inflation related targets or perhaps absolute return targets.  However, an objective is not a strategy; Investors must make this translation from objective to strategy, through to execution.  Market-based benchmarking and associated analytics form...

    Global Real Estate: To Hedge, or Not to Hedge

    Blog | Sep 12, 2018 | Bryan Reid , Will Robson

    While not quite as profound as the Shakespearean original, it is still quite a tricky one for real estate investors to grapple with. Until fairly recently, it is one that has been avoided by the majority of real estate investors due to their heavy home bias. But the increasing global nature of the asset class, combined with rising currency volatility, means the question is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.

    Brick by Brick: Asset-Level Underwriting in Real Estate

    Blog | May 8, 2018 | Will Robson

    Due to the private nature of real estate, investors are often faced with making decisions based on broad market-level information or data relating to a rarified class of hypothetical, top-quality, perfectly located, “prime” benchmark properties, which, much like Peter Pan, never age.

    Retail Apocalypse: Should Mall Owners be Worried?

    Blog | Feb 7, 2018 | Will Robson

    Retailer bankruptcies, department store struggles and empty malls have dominated recent headlines. The apparent culprit? A massive movement toward online shopping, driven by retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart.

    Understanding the True Risk of Real Estate Assets

    Blog | Sep 26, 2017 | Will Robson

    When developing investment strategies, institutional investors in private real estate tend to rely on market-level performance data. But many real estate investors know that every asset is different and even two seemingly identical assets in the same area can produce very different returns. How can they better understand the true risk underlying their exposures when developing their strategies?