NETHERLANDS - The combined direct property investment of Dutch pension funds has decreased significantly, but schemes are still interested in holding office buildings, according to the Dutch regulator De Nederlandsche Bank.

Since its peak at the end of the third quarter of 2007, the pension schemes' combined direct property portfolio has declined by €3.5bn to €15.3bn, DNB statistics have revealed.

In that same period, pension funds have shifted the ratio of their total investments in residential property to office buildings from 60/40% to 54/46%, noted the supervisor.

Scheme's investments in direct real estate currently make up 2.4% of their entire assets, the regulator said.

DNB reported that no less than 98.5% of pension funds' direct property assets are invested in the Netherlands, with the remaining investments held largely in US real estate.

The decline of direct property portfolios was in part caused by a €1.3bn loss in value of residential property, alongside €1bn in divestments in this sector.

That said, while the combined value of owned office buildings has dropped by €1.8bn since 2007, pension funds have increased their offices portfolio by €600m on balance, DNB figures indicated.