Real estate investors who have been battered by the 2007 financial crisis and subsequent recession have become increasingly frustrated with buying traditional property assets. Yet they remain in no man’s land when making attempts to revive their fortune. To the contrary, investors who have successfully survived the financial crisis, knows that in times of economic turmoil, they must jump ship to stay afloat. As traditional property assets lose their appeal, it is time to look elsewhere. Generally, the average investors typically tend to sit back and wait for the next big booming economic wave. Whereas, savvy property investors spend time creating that new wave in a safe boat.
During the rubble (or collapsed economic cycle 2007-2012), reallionaires have been switching to new property sectors, in particular, green real estate, whilst novices are still buying traditional assets. This newly emerging property sector, green real estate (GRE) may be defined as a convergence between green technology and the reinvention of ageing property assets, such as, car parks reinvented into solar car parks or EV recharging stations. The green property sector consists of property assets, such as, solar farms, agro-fuel estates, landfill gas sites, energy from waste facilities, solar car parks and bio-fuel plantations to name just a few. An astonishing US$211 billion was invested in this asset class in 2010, up by US$51b on its 2009 figures. As a result, green property is the most highly sort after property asset among reallionaires and there are some lucrative reasons why.
For starters, reallionaires are putting their money into the green real estate sector because it has pulling power when it comes to attracting capital. Not only are the World Bank and Sovereign wealth funds lending millions to developers and owners of green property projects, but many financial institutions and private equity firms are also throwing cash at developers of such property assets. As reported in various UK’s Newspapers, property tycoon, Vincent Tchenquiz through his acquisition vehicle, Consensus Group, raised over £71 million from sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors to acquire and develop solar farms, wind farms and bio-fuel refineries in South Africa. Likewise, in 2010, Vattenfall secure £150m from the European Investment Bank to develop a wind farm in Thurness Point, Kent UK.
Another reason why reallionaires are adding GRE assets to their property portfolio is due to the knowledge that it attracts near zero taxes and other types of investment incentives. It is now common knowledge, that the acquisition of green real estate is largely a tax free investment. Under Governments’ legislation in the UK and Europe, investors operating in the GRE sector pay less taxes, in comparison to their counterparts investing in mainstream commercial property. Additionally, capital gains tax is waived on most green property assets, such as, recycling centres. Further, other benefits reallionaires accrue from buying GRE, include, tax rebate, tax credit, carbon credit, Government loan guarantees, grants and feed-in-tariffs. Such incentives and promotional policies helped in making this sector recession proof over the last five years.
Third, but not last, reallionaies are in love with green property assets because, unlike other assets, it offers property investors three to four sources of income. Generally most property assets give investors a rental income (depending on the type of owner structure used). Nevertheless, in addition to rental income, GRE provides investors with carbon credit income and feed in tariff income. Reallionaires become mega rich by acquiring high performing assets that provide them with multiple streams of income. To this end, it is abundantly clear why reallionaires and other super rich investors are chasing green real estate assets.
To date, most of the world’s richest property investors have bought into to the green real estate phenomenon. Reallionaires, such as, Samuel Zell, Vincent Tchenquiz, The Duke of Westmister and John Whittaker and more, have all invested millions in this fast growing lucrative sector. In addition to reallionaires, there are a number of super rich entrepreneurs who have also jump on the green property bandwagon, including, Michael Dell, Warren Buffet and the Google founders.