This paper discusses the need of risk measure of real estate assets and the existing measures. Using the FTSE NAREIT monthly all REITs data from December 1971 to June 2017, this study concludes that the risk of real estate assets is indeed unmeasurable. Therefore, real estate assets performance measure should be based on absolute return or inflation-adjusted absolute return; the returns of real estate assets can be compared with meaningful benchmarks, yet the combination of risk and return does not have a valid benchmark. Prevalent indicators such as Sharpe ratio is a misleading concept that leads to biased weights of real estate assets in a modern portfolio. Furthermore, there are no standard measures of the higher moments for real estate asset returns, as the second moment measure does not deliver a solid foundation.
JEL classification numbers: G11
Keywords: Risk, Measure, Asset price, Return, Real estate, Portfolio management.