Research Proposals

The IPF welcomes research proposals from those looking to undertake research in Real Estate Investment. The Research Programme aims to address 'industry issues' and, in doing so, support the wider objectives of the Forum to enhance the knowledge, understanding and efficiency of property as an investment.  Research proposals are considered by the IPF Research Steering Group, a committee of industry practitioners with a wealth of experience in both research and practice.

The types of research ideas that the IPF will consider taking forward will be those that meet the IPF's overall aims to enhance the knowledge and understanding of property as an investment asset class (both to property professionals, and to those outside property), or that supports or develops: new or improves existing forms of real estate investment; improvements in the functioning of the property investment market in the UK; or the activities of the IPF.  Preference will be given to proposals that: improve the functioning and efficiency of the market; ensure property receives a fair hearing with investment asset allocators; or provide a sound empirical platform for initiating and informing debate at the highest levels of government.   

In terms of research themes, specific areas of interest comprise:

  • Asset allocation
  • Portfolio selection
  • Asset management

Additionally, the Research Programme seeks to support five issues of concern identified by the IPF membership, being to enhance the understanding of:

  • How property is financed and funded
  • The impact of regulation and legislation
  • Sustainability
  • Internationalisation of real estate
  • Residential property investment

Proposals that clearly specify how the findings of such research are to be disseminated and, where applicable, how researchers will engage with industry practitioners to encourage the adoption of new approaches will be looked on with greater favour.

IPF Research Programme 2015-18 research submission guidelines

If you would like to discuss a potential research proposal prior to submission, please contact Pam Craddock, IPF Research Director.


Proposals have been invited for the following research that the IPF wishes to commission:

Evolution of Sector Allocations
Much has been written recently about the current state of US retail, in particular the health of its regional malls. The impact of e-commerce has also been extensively discussed. However, there has been less of a dialogue on the influence of omni-channel retailing or the potential consequences this may have on allocations to the retail sector from an investment perspective.

The IPF wishes to commission a study on what, if any, impact the many changes in retailing has had on institutional/large-scale investor allocations to their real estate investment portfolios. Considerations may include:

  • Whether the proportion of capital flowing into and out of retail assets altered over the past decade and why.
  • Does investment in other sectors replicate what retail exposure used to provide in terms of investment performance or are there wider portfolio allocation implications?
  • Considering sector allocations over the next decade, how the future growth of multi-channel retailing might influence sector weightings and the effect on demand within sub-markets.
  •  Where capital will be invested if the retail market is going to shrink – will it be redeployed to other sectors or will it leave the asset class entirely?

The study should be set in an international context, as we are keen to understand whether there are lessons to be learned for the UK from other countries or if the UK provides a guide to what to expect elsewhere.

The deadline for submissions is close of business, Monday 30 April 2018.  

IPF Evolution of Sector Allocations Invitation to Tender (Mar 2018)


Current Practices in Benchmarking Real Estate Investment Performance 
A study to investigate the range and application of benchmarks within private real estate as an asset class. The research will examine the selection, composition and use of benchmarks by a range of investor types in the context of UK market practice.

 IPF Benchmarking RE Investment Performance Invitation to Tender (Dec 2017)

Occupational Drivers of Investment Performance in Real Estate Sectors
Given the importance of income as a component of real estate returns, the IPF wishes to commission a series of studies across a range of property types, to identify key characteristics that drive tenant demand, commencing with the logistics sector. Researchers are expected to provide original insights into the subject, with the focus on the investment implications of change to sector performance.

 IPF Research Occupational Drivers of Performance Invitation to Tender (Jan 2018)

Submissions are being evaluated with a view to confirming appointments shortly.

Current research

Costing Energy Efficiency Improvements in Existing Commercial Buildings
Since the last edition of this research was published in 2012, improving the energy performance of existing buildings within the commercial property sector has become even more critical. The imposition of tougher energy efficiency standards and carbon reduction targets (including the MEES Regulations, effective from April 2018, and the Paris Agreement, to which the UK is a ratified signatory) will have a significant impact on the real estate industry. 

To maintain consistency and clarity, the same case studies have been used as in previous reports and analysed in accordance with current building regulations; for each, the project assessed the value of a broad range of energy efficiency measures to upgrade the energy performance of base line buildings, including new strategies that reflect current market standards. 

To supplement these core tasks, the research has been extended to wider commercial considerations, system‐specific recommendations, predicted actual energy savings and planning for the future.

The full report, summary and data tables, illustrating the impact of various improvement packages on the six generic building types will be available to download shortly.

An Investigation of the Management of Currency Risk in Real Estate Investment 
Exchange rate fluctuations substantially alter the expected risk and return characteristics of international real estate investment. The University of Cambridge has been commissioned to examine contemporary industry practice in managing currency risk for foreign real estate investment. By reviewing different currency risk management approaches and analysing their advantages and disadvantages for different types of investor, different objectives and different markets, the study aims to provide the industry with a better understanding of these issues and how different approaches could minimise overall risk, as well as where responsibilities should lie in evaluating and executing these strategies. The investigation will extend beyond the UK, to consider current practice in a number of locations, including China/Hong Kong, Australia, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Scheduled for publication Q1 2018

Land Value Indices for Commercial Real Estate: Measuring Performance & Benchmarking Viability
This study, by the University of Reading will investigate and propose a framework for the regular estimation of land values for different areas based on a consistent approach. The research will measure land values for different hypothetical scheme types in all UK regions and for selected major cities and will examine the time-series characteristics of these measures, comparing trends in values, as well as analyse the key drivers of changes in development viability over time.

Scheduled for publication Q1 2018

Real Estate in UK DC Pension Fund Investment
A follow up to the 2013 research, this investigation will determine the extent of defined contribution pension investment in real estate (listed/unlisted). Using the existing resources of the contractor, Spence Johnson, (including proprietary DC Market Intelligence research), the study establish the current state of DC investment in real estate, the principal constraints that pension providers face (including daily pricing and liquidity requirements, as well as the key issue of fees) and will seek to forecast future growth in direct real estate investment in UK DC.

Scheduled for publication Q1 2018

UK Residential Attitudes and Investment Survey 2017
This annual survey monitors the level of current exposure, investment intentions and barriers to investment in UK residential property by over 40 institutional and large scale investors.

Published January 2018