NETHERLANDS - Dutch institutional investments in indirect real estate declined by 17% last year in favour of a growth in direct real estate portfolios, a new report finds.

An annual study by the University of Amsterdam, together with Jones Lang LaSalle, shows Dutch institutions allocated €156bn to the overall asset class in 2007 - 3% less than the year before.

Direct real estate investments increased by 3% to around €120.3bn, while institutional investors withdrew almost €6.2bn worth of indirect real estate investments, as the portfolios in the class dropped by 17% to €36.3bn, partly because of the global market turmoil.

The report also found investors booked a total return of 10.6% on direct real estate, though its authors anticipates returns for 2008 will be lower.

Institutional investors and real estate funds plan to invest another €2.9bn in the class over 2008/2009, mostly in the retail and residential sectors, while total planned divestments come down to €2bn, of which around half is in the offices sector.

Surveyed institutions believe there are still good opportunities in real estate in the health care sector and infrastructure investments.

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