NCREIF Property Index Released

Real Estate Returns for Institutional Investors Start 2019 on Upswing

CHICAGO, IL, April 25, 2019 – The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) has released first quarter 2019 results for the NCREIF Property Index (NPI). The NPI reflects investment performance for 7,913 commercial properties, totaling $630 billion of market value. The returns are detailed in the attached Snapshot Report.

The total return was 1.80% in the first quarter, up from 1.38% last quarter.  The return for this quarter was above the average quarterly return over the past four quarters which was 1.67% or 6.83% annualized.  This is an unleveraged return for what is primarily “core” real estate held by institutional investors throughout the US. 

NPI Total Returns

The total return of 1.80% consisted in an income return of 1.11% from NOI and a capital return of 0.69%.  The positive capital return indicates that on average, properties in the NPI are still increasing in value after deducting capital expenditures that have been added.  Thus, the commercial real estate market as reflected by the NPI has not yet peaked as some thought may have happened last quarter.

Retail Reverses Downtrend to Help Industrial Boost the NPI

Returns for retail properties rebounded during the quarter from a negative 0.43% last quarter to a positive 1.74% which was the main sector that contributed to the upswing in the NPI during the quarter.  Industrial properties, which are primarily warehouse, continue to be the strongest performer with a return of 3.02% for the quarter although down from the prior quarter return of 3.4%.  Office followed with a return of 1.63% that was just slightly less than the 1.65% return last quarter.  Apartment returns were unchanged at 1.35% while hotel returns dropped from 1.21% to 0.44%

NPI Total Returns by Property Type 

Cap Rates at Historic Lows While Occupancy Remains High

After edging up slightly last quarter which many expected to be the new trend, cap rates managed to decline to a historic low of 4.69% for the quarter which is the lowest level in the history of the NPI.  This also contributed to the rebound in the NPI for the quarter.

Occupancy was just down slightly to 93.82% from 94.00% last quarter which continues to be at very high historic levels.

About the NCREIF Property Index

The NPI consists of 7,913 investment-grade, income-producing properties with a market value of $630 billion. The market value breakdown by property type is about 35% office, 25% apartment, 22% retail, 17% industrial and 1% hotel properties.

The NPI includes property data covering over 100 CBSAs. In addition, within each property type, data are further stratified by sub-type. These data enhance the ability of institutional investors to evaluate the risk and return of commercial real estate across the United States.


NCREIF will hold a webinar on Thursday, May 9th, at 1:00 pm Central Time to discuss an overview of the NCREIF Property Index (NPI) and the NCREIF Fund Index – Open End Diversified Core Equity (NFI-ODCE), the Farmland and Timberland Indices, as well as a detailed discussion of the results and interesting data from the NCREIF Property Value Trends report. The conference call is being webcast live and can be accessed here.  An online replay of the webcast will be available on NCREIF’s website at

The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) is an association of professionals with significant involvement and interest in pension fund real estate investments who come together to address vital industry issues and to promote research on the asset class.

Press Release

NPI 1Q2019 Snapshot