More liquid shares just outperform property over last 20 years - if you don’t mind the volatility: Rismark study

The share market has outperformed the property market every year for the last 20 years, but has offered investors a roller-coaster ride.

Analysis of the performance of equities versus property by Rismark International for the Australian Financial Review shows that this outperformance was greatest in the mid to late 1990s  and in the five years preceding the GFC.

The All Ordinaries Accumulative Index (including dividends) returned nearly 24% per annum between February 2003 and December 2007 while Australian residential property accumulative indices (including capital growth and rental yields net of estimated holding and selling costs) returned 9.6% per annum.

Investing in zero risk 90 day government bank bill returned 5.88%.

However, since 2007 to the present, the share market has cost investors around 1% per annum with property performing a little better (3.7%) while 90 day bank bills would have returned 4.7% per annum.

Averaging out returns over 20 years show that the All Ordinaries Accumulative Index has returned around 9.91% per year over the past twenty years while residential property has returned 9.8%.

Holding funds in a zero risk 90 day government bank bill would have returned 5.5% per annum over this 20 year period.

The Rismark analysis shows that shares were impacted by event such as the dot.com shares bubble bursting, the rise of the bull market prior to the GFC resulting in a very high volatility rating with sharp rises and falls.

In comparison, the property market has grown relatively steadily with smaller dips following the GFC (with assistance provided to the housing market by generous first-home buyer incentives).

The research highlights that good investment portfolios are diversified between shares, property investments and cash deposits.

It also shows that holding just one investment propertyis not a good strategy.

Not only is it an illiquid investment, but according to Rismark’s head of research Matthew Hardman, individual properties have had much higher volatility than the overall housing market index “so the risk return proposition is not as good”.

A diversified residential property portfolio of around six properties offers a better risk-return proposition but is a far less liquid investment than shares, which though riskier, can more easily be sold in different quantities if cash is required.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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