Most of the five largest Dutch pension funds generated above-average returns on property during the first three months of this year.

In its first quarterly report, the €431bn civil service scheme ABP said its 10.3% real estate portfolio returned no less than 10.4%. Its profit over last year was 3.3%.

It added that its 2.9% infrastructure holdings had delivered 2.9% since year-end compared with 12.4% for the entire 2018.

ABP said it expected lower returns for the coming years, “as interest rates were now very low and equity markets had priced in optimistic conditions”.

PFZW, the €217bn pension fund for the healthcare sector, said its 12.7% property portfolio had gained 8.4% in the first quarter, with both listed and private real estate performing well. In contrast, its infrastructure allocation (4.1%) produced no more than 0.1%.

PMT, the €77bn industry-wide scheme for metalworking and mechanical engineering, posted a 6.4% result on 10% real estate holdings, which generated 2.4% last year.

The €61bn pension fund for the building sector (BpfBouw) credited the performance of its Dutch office portfolio and North American real estate holdings in particular for its quarterly profit of 4.2%.

BpfBouw has 16.9% of its assets invested in real estate through its property investor Bouwinvest.

PME, the €50bn industry-wide scheme for metal and electro-technical engineering, said that its real estate portfolio had fallen behind with a disappointing result of 0.8%. Last year, its property holdings gained 12%.

The metal scheme had reduced its real estate allocation by 1 percentage point to 4% relative to 2018.

ABP and PFZW posted overall results of 8.2% and 8.5%, respectively, for the first quarter.

BpfBouw generated 8.1%, while PMT and PME delivered quarterly profits of 7.5% and 7.8%, respectively.

ABP chiefly attributed its 14.2% profit on equity to the prospect of a trade deal between the US and China as well as the fact that both the ECB and the US Federal Reserve had refrained from raising interest rates this year.

It added that equity developed and emerging markets had produced 14.3% and 13.9%, respectively.

BpfBouw reported a 13.9% gain on its entire equity holdings, while PFZW’s returned 11.5%.

PFZW indicated that its 1.1% mortgages portfolio had produced a 1.3% profit.