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Global Real Estate Funds See Sharp Rebound

He also holds Prologis (PLD), a U.S. operator that owns industrial warehouses in 21 countries. The company has been expanding in Japan, the U.K. and Mexico. Curbo says that the growth of e-commerce is increasing demand for warehouses that are used for shipping goods to consumers. "We are seeing improving occupancy rates as consumer spending increases a little," says Curbo.

Another fund that excelled during the financial crisis is Cohen & Steers Global Realty (CSFAX). During the past five years, the fund has declined 1.7% annually, outdoing 61% of competitors. The fund has 15% of its assets in Hong Kong. Portfolio manager Chip McKinley says corporate tenants have been taking more office space recently as the outlook for the Chinese economy improved. He holds Hongkong Land Holdings (HKHGF), which owns high-quality office buildings. McKinley says the company has done a good job of attracting fast-growing tenants, including social media and technology businesses. "They have been attracting companies that are willing and able to pay higher rents," he says.

McKinley has a stake in Australia, which is a big supplier of raw materials to China. With the Chinese economy stabilizing, prices of Australian mall properties have been strengthening. He owns Westfield Group (WFGPY), a leading mall operator. "They have very stable shopping centers with high-quality tenants," he says.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Stan Luxenberg is a freelance writer specializing in mutual funds and investing. He was executive editor of Individual Investor magazine.
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