Real estate investors may be ready to take the profits, according to a survey by Union Investment.

The German fund manager said international pressure to invest was “opening up selling opportunities”.

“Taking profits has become essential for an increasing number of investors,” it said.

The Hamburg-based manager found that 72% of German investors, 84% of UK investors and 52% of French respondents planned to focus their investment teams on taking profits and rebalancing portfolios.

Olaf Janssen, head of real estate research at Union, said: “Contrary to their original strategies, a wide range of market players are realising gains and becoming net sellers, which is unusual.

“The reinvestment of proceeds remains a key challenge in an environment characterised by strong demand.”

Price pressure in European investment markets is continuing to keep real estate return expectations in check, the company said. 

Less than half of the professional property investors surveyed in Europe’s three largest economies believe they will achieve their yield targets in the next three years.

Expectations are, Union said, also subdued on a five-year view.

Investors are more likely to invest beyond core real estate, with secondary cities increasingly popular.

The core sector is no longer regarded as a source of stable performance, with 48% of investors surveyed in Germany intending to boost their investment outside the core segment in the next 12 months.

In the UK, 51% of investors aim to make a strategic adjustment of this kind, while in France the figure is higher, at 58%.

UK and German investors are showing greater willingness to increase the proportion of secondary cities in their portfolios to access higher yields.

One-quarter of all the companies surveyed plan to achieve greater diversification of their portfolio through increased investment in hotels or logistics properties.

Union also said more portfolio transactions in Europe could emerge.

So far, they have mainly been completed by European investors.