REAL ESTATE - Progress, Unilever’s Dutch pension fund, is to maintain its real estate allocation at around 15%, despite a stunning outperformance in 2005 from equities, which returned 30.2%.

Real estate in 2005 generated a return of 8.2%, an increase of 0.2% over the previous year. The total return on the fund’s investments in 2005 was 19.4%, an increase from 8.7% in 2004.

Dirk Kuin, a spokesman for the €3.265m Rotterdam-based fund, said: “Real estate has returned a solid performance. We’re keeping it stable. We won’t increase it. We won’t decrease it.”

Over the past 10 years, yields have ranged from just over 5% at their lowest to 9% at their peak.

The fund, which has held real estate since its inception 85 years ago, invests exclusively in the domestic market.

Residential property accounts for more than 60%, with the remainder taken up by retail and office properties.

“The market is well-known to us,” said Kuin. “If we invested abroad, we’d need to hire experienced people in other markets. Costs would be higher and perhaps performance would be lower.”