The alternative real estate sector includes property assets that fall outside of the other traditional real estate sectors. These types of alternative real estate assets can take many forms. Some of the most commonly thought of alternative assets are parking lots and self-storage. However, the breadth and depth of the sector is much greater, including transportation and infrastructure such as roads and bridges as well as natural resources such as timber, oil fields, and natural gas deposits. The maturity and acceptance of real estate as an asset class in general has, in turn, focused attention on the alternative assets as investors search for yield.
Looking to the future
The future of alternative investments in real estate will be led by a focus on sustainable energy and infrastructure. As the world's oil reserves are depleted, more and more sources of sustainable, renewable energy will be needed. Large plots of land for wind farms and solar panels will be necessary. Also, the infrastructure in the United States is rapidly approaching the end of its useful life. There is a tremendous need for renovations and improvements, and the private sector will play are large role in providing either the capital and/or the expertise to complete these projects. Formal Public Private Partnerships between government agencies and private companies are already taking place to meet this need. Public infrastructure REITs are also forming to allow greater access to the market.