Unlocking Portfolio Potential: The Case for Including Private Real Estate

Eric Wilson


January 23, 2023

6 min read

Eric Wilson


January 23, 2023

5 min read

Investing is a balancing act between risk and reward. To construct a high-performing, well-balanced portfolio, diversification across asset classes is key. By looking at the historical data, recent studies underscore the value of private real estate in enhancing portfolio performance.

Historical Performance Across Asset Classes

The study, spanning from October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2022, reveals compelling data about the performance of private real estate compared to traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds.

From October 2000 to September 2020, private real estate posted a cumulative return of 380%, outperforming stocks and bonds, which had cumulative returns of 253% and 166%, respectively. During this timeframe, private real estate had fewer down quarters (7) compared to stocks (23) and bonds (18), while registering more positive quarters (73) than stocks (57) and bonds (62).

This suggests that over this 20-year period, not only did private real estate offer higher returns, but it also exhibited less volatility.

Portfolio Performance: The Impact of Private Real Estate

The study further delved into portfolio performance, contrasting a traditional 60/40 stocks/bonds portfolio with a diversified portfolio incorporating private real estate.

A 60/40 stocks/bonds portfolio yielded a 13.9% return with an 11.6% standard deviation, culminating in a 1.21 Sharpe ratio. In contrast, a diversified portfolio composed of 50% stocks, 30% bonds, and 20% private real estate generated a 15.5% return with an 11.1% standard deviation and a more desirable 1.44 Sharpe ratio.

These results demonstrate that incorporating private real estate into a portfolio can enhance returns while reducing volatility, resulting in a higher Sharpe ratio, indicative of more efficient risk-adjusted performance.

The Case for Private Real Estate

The findings of this study make a persuasive case for the inclusion of private real estate in a diversified investment portfolio. In addition to providing higher returns over the observed period, private real estate contributed to less volatility, leading to more robust risk-adjusted returns.

Moreover, real estate, being a tangible asset, can offer a hedge against inflation, making it an attractive investment during inflationary periods.

However, investing in private real estate also presents unique challenges and risks. These may include illiquidity, management complexities, and market-specific risks. It's also worth noting that past performance does not guarantee future results.


While the inclusion of private real estate in an investment portfolio is not a one-size-fits-all solution, this study offers compelling evidence of its potential benefits. For investors seeking to enhance returns and diversify their portfolio, private real estate can serve as a potent tool.

As always, a thorough understanding of your investment goals, risk tolerance, and market conditions is essential. It's recommended to seek professional advice to determine the best strategy to navigate the complex landscape of real estate investing.