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Real estate

Is commercial real estate debt the superfood of real estate investment?

Jack Gay
Global Head of Commercial Real Estate Debt
Vegetables on display
For real estate investors seeking secure returns, private debt is an increasingly inviting strategy given the current environment, which is marked by low returns from fixed income investments, high prices for equity investments that may appear risky and political uncertainty in many regions

"The sector is becoming more mainstream than it was five to seven years ago. Commercial real estate (CRE) debt used to be more of a niche play and now an allocation is becoming part of institutional investors' fundamental line-up," commented Jack Gay, Head of Debt Real Estate. Jack has dubbed debt the real estate investment industry's superfood. "It may not be as appetizing as equity, but it's really good for your portfolios."

Fuel your performance with these top five ingredients:

Potential income

Blueberries can lower your risk of heart disease and improve your memory by protecting the brain from inflammation and boosting communication between brain cells.
Looking for a healthy addition to boost your income? Well-structured CRE debt offers the potential for stable, income-focused returns at attractive relative yields.


A half-cup of spinach provides more than five times of your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps to build strong bones.
Meanwhile, CRE debt can strengthen the structure of your portfolio by acting as a diversifier to fixed income, direct real estate and wider investment markets

Market opportunity

Green tea has a combination of powerful antioxidants, which can reduce free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage.
Seize the day by adding a cup to your morning routine for long-term anti-aging and disease prevention benefits, just as alternative lenders are taking advantage of structural changes in the market to originate CRE debt investments at attractive, risk-adjusted returns.


One portion of sweet potatoes delivers more than 450% of your daily dose of vitamin A, which protects your vision and your immune system.
See the market clearly and protect your health for the long term by accessing potential attractive risk-adjusted returns, relative to fixed income and direct real estate investments, particularly late in the cycle


Brussels sprouts have more glucosinolates (compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies) than any other vegetable.
Need a tonic to prevent capital depreciation? CRE debt occupies a more secure part of the capital stack than equity, offering a measure of downside and performance risk mitigation through the buffer of the borrower’s equity and excess rent.

Our debt expertise

Commercial real estate debt
Our global debt platform invests across the capital structure, seeking income-focused, stable and attractive, risk-adjusted total returns for investors through a diversified portfolio of investments. We have been active in the commercial real estate debt market since 1934 and have more than 50 seasoned experts around the world.
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Note: The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and are not guaranteed.

Issued by Nuveen Investment Management International Limited, 201 Bishopsgate, EC2M 3BN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Nuveen Real Estate is a name under which Nuveen Real Estate Management Limited provides investment products and services. Nuveen Real Estate is an investment affiliate of Nuveen, LLC (“Nuveen”), the investment management arm of TIAA.

This material is provided for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation of any securities in any jurisdiction in which such solicitation is unlawful or to any person to whom it is unlawful. Moreover, it neither constitutes an offer to enter into an investment agreement with the recipient of this document nor an invitation to respond to it by making an offer to enter into an investment agreement. 

This material may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include projections, forecasts, estimates of yields or returns, and proposed or expected portfolio composition. Moreover, certain historical performance information of other investment vehicles or composite accounts managed by Nuveen may be included in this material and such performance information is presented by way of example only. No representation is made that the performance presented will be achieved, or that every assumption made in achieving, calculating or presenting either the forward-looking information or the historical performance information herein has been considered or stated in preparing this material. Any changes to assumptions that may have been made in preparing this material could have a material impact on the investment returns that are presented herein by way of example.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources deemed by Nuveen to be reliable, and not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. Company name is only for explanatory purposes and does not constitute as investment advice and is subject to change. Any investments named within this material may not necessarily be held in any funds/accounts managed by Nuveen. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Views of the author may not necessarily reflect the view s of Nuveen as a whole or any part thereof. 

Past performance is not a guide to future performance
. Investment involves risk, including loss of principal. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Changes in the rates of exchange between currencies may cause the value of investments to fluctuate.
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