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Will Robson

Will Robson
Executive Director & Head of Real Estate Solutions Research

About the Contributor

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.

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Contributions by Will Robson


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  1. BLOG

    2021 Real Estate Trends to Watch 

    Jan 12, 2021 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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.

  2. BLOG

    Was Infrastructure Solid During COVID-19? 

    Oct 27, 2020 Will Robson , Niel Harmse

    Real Estate Investing , Risk Management

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    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.

  3. BLOG

    2020 Emerging Real Estate Trends 

    Jan 16, 2020 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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

  4. 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.

  5. BLOG

    Digging deeper into pan-European property funds’ performance 

    Nov 26, 2019 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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.

  6. PAPER

    Climate risk in private real estate portfolios: What’s the exposure? 

    Oct 17, 2019 Gillian Mollod , Will Robson

    Investing (Investment Management) , Responsible Investing , Risk Management

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    As a long-term asset class, private real estate is especially vulnerable to climate-related events, such as water stress, hurricanes and flooding. The impact for investors could range from increased operational costs (e.g., damage to the property, repair costs) to the potential for higher insurance costs, property devaluation and in some extreme cases, the complete loss of the property. We analyzed physical risks in five real estate markets in different regions (Australia, South Africa, the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands) to see which properties were exposed and to identify any concentrations of risk.

  7. BLOG

    Underwater assets? Real estate exposure to flood risk 

    Sep 17, 2019 Will Robson , Gillian Mollod

    ESG Research , Real Estate Investing

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    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.

  8. BLOG

    Have appraisers been too bullish on retail real estate? 

    Jul 30, 2019 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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?

  9. BLOG

    2019 emerging real estate trends 

    Feb 5, 2019 Will Robson

    ESG Research , Real Estate Investing , Global Investing

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    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.

  10. 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, as are broader questions of how to consistently approach the analysis of core and opportunistic real estate.

  11. 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 a powerful toolbox to understand drivers of risk and returns to evaluate the extent to which a strategy is delivering on the investors’ expectations.

    Watch the MSCI Real Estate Benchmarking Framework Video

  12. BLOG

    Global real estate: To hedge, or not to hedge 

    Sep 12, 2018 Will Robson , Bryan Reid

    Real Estate Investing , Risk Management , Global Investing

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    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.

  13. BLOG

    Brick by brick: asset-level underwriting in real estate 

    May 8, 2018 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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.

  14. BLOG

    Retail Apocalypse: Should Mall Owners be Worried? 

    Feb 7, 2018 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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.

  15. BLOG

    Understanding the True Risk of Real Estate Assets 

    Sep 26, 2017 Will Robson

    Real Estate Investing

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    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?