The Fund booked an income return (ROE) of 3.9%, which was higher than the 3.6% reported in 2013. In 2014, mainly due to the tendering of maintenance activities, total maintenance costs were lower than in 2013.
The direct property return of 4.5% was higher than the 4.2% reported in 2013, and equal to the IPD Property Index direct return investment properties of 4.5%. 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 regulated rental homes in the portfolio is relatively low.
Values rose in 2014. Vacant values increased as average house prices in the Netherlands rose slightly again, reinforced by clear regulatory reforms and favourable financing conditions as interest levels are at historic lows. The Fund’s capital growth (ROE) of 1.2% was therefore significantly higher than the 2013 performance of (3.6)%.
The indirect property return of 1.3% (2013: (3.6)%) was an outperformance compared with the indirect return investment properties of the IPD Property Index, which ended at 0.6%.
The total return (ROE) came in at 5.1%, 5.1%-points higher than the 0.0% reported in 2013.
The Fund’s total property return for 2014 came in at 5.8%, which was 5.2%-points higher than in 2013, and higher then the IPD Property Index total return investment properties of 5.2%.
The rent increase (like-for-like) came in at 3.2%, well above the 2014 inflation rate for the year of 1.0% and slightly higher (like-for-like) than in 2013.
In 2014, the average financial occupancy rose slightly to 96.5% from 96.4% in 2013.
Rent in arrears was lower than the year-earlier period at 1.2% (2013: 1.5%).
The Fund acquired a total of 1,447 apartments and 207 family homes for a total of € 407 million in 2014. All new assets are located in the Fund's core regions, in cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Eindhoven and 's-Hertogenbosch.
The Fund sold assets for a total of € 116 million in 2014.
The Fund did not make use of any loan capital financing in 2014.
The Fund had € 98.1 million in freely available cash at year-end 2014, mainly as a result of invested capital from new investors. This amount will be used for part of the secured pipeline of € 175 million in 2015. Furthermore, proceeds from the sale of investment properties were almost equal to instalments paid in 2014.
Interest rate and currency exposure
The Fund has no interest rate or currency exposure.
Dividend and dividend policy
The Board of Directors of Bouwinvest proposes to pay a dividend of € 97.88 per share for 2014 (2013: € 94.87), 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 2014, with the final quarterly instalment paid out in March 2015. The remainder of the distribution over 2014 will be paid out in a final instalment on 28 April 2015, following approval by the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders to be held on 20 April 2015.
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 said distributable profit. The Fund met its obligations related to value added tax, transfer tax and other applicable taxes in their entirety in 2014.
Bouwinvest REIM 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 BV acts as independent depositary of the Fund for the benefit of the investors and performs all depositary functions and duties pursuant to AIFMD regulations.