Forecasting UK commercial real estate cycle phases with leading indicators: a probit approach
This paper examines the significance of widely used leading indicators of the UK economy for predicting the cyclical pattern of commercial real estate performance. The analysis uses monthly capital value data for UK industrials, offices and retail from the Investment Property Databank (IPD). Prospective economic indicators are drawn from three sources namely, the series used by the US Conference Board to construct their UK leading indicator and the series deployed by two private organisations, Lombard Street Research and NTC Research, to predict UK economic activity. We first identify turning points in the capital value series adopting techniques employed in the classical business cycle literature. Probit models are then estimated using the leading economic indicators as independent variables and forecast the probability of different phases of capital values, that is, periods of declining and rising capital values. The forecast performance of the models is tested and found to be satisfactory. The predictability of lasting directional changes in property performance represents a useful tool for real estate investment decision-making.