Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business


Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor David Allen

Second Advisor

Dr Lee Kian Lim


Commercial property investments have been favoured by investors because of the portfolio diversification benefits and the ability for property investments to hedge against inflation. Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REITs) are market traded forms of property investments but do not suffer from the relative illiquidity, large investment requirements and transaction costs inherent in the ownership of direct property assets. In order for A-REITs to be effective substitutes for property investments, they should exhibit similar characteristics and respond to market forces in the same way as real estate. However, there are some differences which may mask the ability of A-REITs to represent property assets. Because they are market traded, many believe that A-REITs are more like stocks and less like real estate. In addition, the different pricing mechanisms of the private and public property markets increase the divide in the suitability of A-REITs as property substitutes. Within the A-REIT sector, the past decade has seen the emergence of two distinct trust structures: the traditional (externally-managed) type and stapled (internally-managed) trust.

This thesis aims to address the linkages between the private and public property markets, to examine how each are related over time to other financial assets namely; stocks and bonds, and the ability of both to be effective hedges against inflation. Issues associated with a smoothing bias when dealing with appraisal-based property market data are also addressed. The grouping for traditional and stapled A-REITs into separate indices instead of merely observing an overall A-REIT index enables the study to capture different relationships with related markets and economic variables.

Cointegration tests and Vector Error Correction Models are estimated to establish the long-run relationships of property and A-REIT prices and how returns adjust in the short-run. The main empirical results from this study reveal that stapled AREITs are consistent representatives of commercial real estate, and provide an efficient hedge against inflation. Traditional and stapled A-REITs display different linkages with the stock and bond markets in the long and short-term. The implications of the thesis findings are that both A-REITs types should be considered separately instead of relying on a general index comprised of the two. This will affect the decisions of portfolio managers and investors looking to substitute property with A-REITs in their portfolios, as well as property appraisers who look to information transmitted from the stock market when making valuations.