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The effect of quantitative easing and quantitative tightening on U.S. equity REIT returns


  • Axelsson, Birger

    (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Royal Institute of Technology)

  • Song, Han-Suck

    (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Royal Institute of Technology)


The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has implemented several quantitative easing (QE) programmes to stimulate the U.S. economy and increase the inflation rate after the great financial crisis (GFC) and the COVID-19 crisis. However, when the inflation rate started to increase steeply in 2021, the Fed instead begun to implement quantitative tapering (QT) to cool down the U.S. economy and bring back inflation to it target rate. This study seeks to estimate the effect of the QE and QT programmes on the U.S. equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) index returns, while controlling for several other important macro-financial factors. The estimations show that the QE programmes significantly contributed to a long period of positive REIT returns, while the recent 2022 QT efforts has contributed significantly to the recent period of negative REIT returns. We also find that the increases in the key macro-financial factors Baa Corporate Bond Yield ad the CBOE volatility index of the U.S. stock market (VIX) result in lower REIT returns, while increases in total bank equity capital of FDIC-Insured Commercial Banks and Savings Institutions contribute to positive REIT returns. We also find that the negative initial REIT return reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak was likely outperformed by the positive impacts of the large combined monetary (QE) and fiscal stimulus packages implemented after the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. The findings of this study show that REIT returns are highly sensitive to profound QE and QT programmes through important monetary transmission mechanisms channels such as the interest rate, asset price and risk-taking channels. This research supports REIT investors to understand how the Fed's monetary policy actions, particularly QE and QT programmes, impact the returns of the REIT index, and to adjust their investment strategies accordingly based on their expectations of future monetary policy actions and macro-financial conditions.

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  • Axelsson, Birger & Song, Han-Suck, 2023. "The effect of quantitative easing and quantitative tightening on U.S. equity REIT returns," Working Paper Series 23/9, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Banking and Finance, revised 14 Nov 2023.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:kthrec:2023_009

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    More about this item


    REITs; Quantitative Easing; Quantitative Tightening; Real Estate; Inflation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G19 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Other

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