EUROPE - Performance of European non-listed real estate funds returned to positive territory this year, the first time since 2007, according to inaugural quarterly index results for the sector.

The European Association for Investors in Non-listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV) published the results of its first-ever quarterly index, showing returns of 2.5% and 1.5% in the first and second quarters, respectively.

The INREV index showed losses of 26.8% in 2008 and 7.8% in 2009.

The UK market continued to lead the recovery.

Its returns of 6.3% in the first quarter and 2.9% in the second were considerably higher than those of continental Europe at 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively.

Lonneke Löwik, director of research and market information at INREV, said: "The non-listed property funds industry is back in positive figures, but we continue to see a distinct difference between the pace of recovery for the UK and the continent.

"The UK has experienced a mixed two quarters with overall positive growth, but one that slowed in the second quarter.

"The continent may appear slower in its recovery, but its impact of the downturn was not so deeply felt in the first place."

INREV said the publication of a quarterly index was a major step forward for performance measurement in the non-listed property funds industry, offering investors and fund managers the first real chance to incorporate industry-level returns into their quarterly performance evaluation work for existing fund investments.

Matthias Thomas, chief executive at INREV, said: "This new INREV quarterly index sees the industry reach a new milestone.

"As the non-listed property funds sector matures, it requires deeper and more frequent data to help it understand and benchmark performance.

"It is testament to the importance of this initiative that nearly all the non-listed property funds able to provide quarterly data have positively supported this quarterly index."

The results were based on a sample of 207 funds, the vast majority of which already contribute to the established annual INREV index.

The next update of the INREV Quarterly index will be published in December.