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Real-estate funds gain traction in S. Korea
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- The value of funds investing in real estate at home and abroad reached nearly 20 trillion won (US$18.8 billion) this year as investors are looking for alternative investment vehicles amid low rates, data showed Sunday.

   Funds invested in properties at home and abroad were valued at 19.7 trillion won as of Thursday, up 20.4 percent from the end of last year, according to the Korea Financial Investment Association.

   The value of such funds almost tripled, compared with the end of 2007 when such funds were valued at 6.82 trillion won, it added.

   A rise in the investment in the funds came as profitability from investing in commercial properties is relatively high, compared with the slumping housing markets, analysts say.

   "A long streak of low rates is prompting institutional investors to raise the portion of the real-estate funds in their investment portfolios," said Lee Young-hyun, a senior official at Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management.

   Analysts said that as the stock market is in a lackluster mode, institutional investors are turning their eyes to alternative investment vehicles to take stable returns, including real estate.

   Experts said that liquidity may flow further into the real estate funds down the road.

   "Money flows into stocks and bonds are likely to channel into investment vehicles such as real estate and infrastructures," said Suh Cheol-soo, a senior official at Korea Investment Management Co.