The Fund booked an income return (ROE) of 3.8% in 2015 (2014: 3.9%). The distributable result increased by 5.3%, while the Fund’s time weighted NAV increased by 6.1%, resulting in a slight dip of 0.1% in the income return compared to 2014.
The growth of the distributable result was largely due to additional rental income. This growth in rental income came from properties added to the portfolio in 2015 and the first full year of properties added in 2014, together with improved occupancy rates. Costs increased by a modest 0.2% compared with 2014. Maintenance costs actually came in lower than the previous year, due to the tendering of maintenance activities, and this offset most of the cost increases in other property operating expenses.
The increase in the Fund’s time-weighted NAV was due to the issuance of capital necessary for investments.
The direct property return of 4.5% is equal to the level as reported in 2014, and equals the IPD Property Index direct return on investment properties. A further breakdown of the property return reveals that the main driver of the rise in direct return was a substantial higher occupancy rate than the benchmark. And while operating expenses came in below the benchmark, a relatively high proportion of these were due to maintenance costs, while fixed charges and other costs were relatively low. The other costs were lower than the benchmark, due to the fact that Bouwinvest paid a relatively small amount in the so-called landlord’s levy, as the number of government regulated rental homes in the portfolio is relatively low.
Property values rose once again in 2015. Vacant values increased as average house prices in the Netherlands continued to rise, reinforced by clear regulatory reforms and favourable financing conditions as interest levels are at historic lows. The biggest rise in values was seen in the Randstad urban conurbation, especially Amsterdam, which saw house prices increase to near pre-2008 levels. The Fund’s capital growth (ROE) of 8.6% was therefore significantly higher than the 1.2% reported in 2014.
The indirect property return of 8.9% (2014: 1.3%) was a significant outperformance of the indirect return investment properties of the IPD Property Index, which ended at 6.3%.
The total return (ROE) came in at 12.5%, 7.4%-points higher than the 5.1 % reported in 2014.
The Fund’s total property return for 2015 came in at 13.7%, which was 7.9%-points higher than in 2014, and higher than the IPD Property Index total return on investment properties of 11.0%.
Fund return versus property return
The fund return (INREV) and property return (IPD) are different performance indicators. The fund return is calculated according to the INREV Guidelines as a percentage of the net asset value (INREV NAV) and the property return is calculated according to the IPD methodology as a percentage of the value of the investment properties. INREV e.g. includes cash, the fee costs and administrative costs in the calculation of the income return (INREV). Furthermore the amortisation of acquisition is threated differently by INREV and IPD.
The rent increase (like-for-like) came in at 3.8%, well above the 2015 inflation rate for the year of 1.0% and 0.6% higher (like-for-like) than in 2014.
In 2015, the average financial occupancy rose slightly to 97.6% from 96.5% in 2014. Rent in arrears was lower than the year-earlier period at 1.1% (2014: 1.2%).
The Fund acquired a total of 1,712 apartments and 395 family homes for a total of € 466 million in 2015. All new assets are located in the Fund's core regions, in cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.
The Fund sold assets for a total of € 6.3 million in 2015.
The Fund did not make use of any loan capital financing in 2015.
The Fund had € 29.8 million in freely available cash and € 100.0 million in a 30-day deposit as at 31 December 2015, mainly as a result of invested capital from new investors. This amount will be used for part of the secured pipeline of € 690 million.
Interest rate and currency exposure
As the Fund has no external loans and borrowings, it has no exposure to related interest rate risks. The interest rate risk related to bank balances is mitigated by bank deposits.
Dividend and dividend policy
The Board of Directors of Bouwinvest proposes to pay a dividend of € 98.33 per share for 2015 (2014: € 97.88), which corresponds to a pay-out ratio of 100%. It is proposed that the dividend be paid in cash, within the constraints imposed by the company’s fiscal investment institution (FII) status. Of this total dividend, 78.4% was paid out in 2015, with the final quarterly instalment paid out in March 2016. The remainder of the distribution over 2015 will be paid out in a final instalment on 26 April 2016, following approval by the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders to be held on 18 April 2016.
The Fund is structured as a fiscal investment institution (FII) under Dutch law and is therefore not subject to corporate tax. Being an FII, the Fund is obliged by law to maintain a pay-out ratio of 100% of the Fund’s distributable profit. As stated above, the Fund proposes to pay out 100% of its distributable profit. The Fund met its obligations related to value added tax, transfer tax and other applicable taxes in their entirety in 2015.
Bouwinvest is the fund manager of the Residential Fund. On 17 February 2014, Bouwinvest was among the first Dutch institutions to obtain the AIFMD licence. Under this licence, Intertrust Depositary Services B.V. acts as independent depositary of the Fund for the benefit of the investors and performs all depositary functions and duties pursuant to AIFMD regulations.