Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between liquidity in listed real estate markets, company size and geography during different market cycles, specifically pre-crisis (2002-2006) and post-crisis (2010-2014). Further, the study analyses the impact of stock liquidity on stock performance. In a previous study the authors examined the impact of liquidity on the valuation of European real estate shares. The result showed that there is a strong relationship between liquidity, valuation and market capitalisation post the Global Financial Crisis.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper studies the linkages between regional market liquidity and company size for 60 listed real estate companies globally and determines the key drivers of company stock market liquidity pre- and post-crisis as well as the impact on stock performance. Analysis of variance is used to test cross-sectional independence in market liquidity combined with the Tukey’s post hoc test. The selected test indicators of liquidity to capture market depth and market tightness are daily stock turnover as percentage of market capitalisation and daily bid-ask spreads.
Findings – Findings confirm previous studies that market liquidity factors are correlated globally over time indicating markets interdependence. However, sample groups by company size and geography form independent samples with different sample means, thus specific liquidity levels in each market may be different. First, stock turnover levels have not recovered post-crisis to pre-crisis levels in the majority of markets while spreads have continued moving downward to nearly insignificant levels in line with the rest of the equity market. Second, with regards to stock performance, the European bias previously detected is not apparent in the USA, and there is no evidence of the small cap vs large cap effect of small companies achieving superior returns, although smaller companies have outperformed in Europe and Asia in each of the last three years (2012-2014).
Practical implications – The key implication is that although spread levels for smaller companies are higher, implying a slight risk premium when investing in small companies, this did not manifest into consistent superior stock market returns in the periods studied. In a mature market such as the USA or UK, liquidity levels in terms of stock turnover are higher and spreads are lower thus reducing trading costs, making them more attractive for investors.
Originality/value – This research brings together previous analysis on stock market liquidity and stock performance on a global market level. It further tests the dependence of market liquidity on two key indicators, namely, geography and company size and analyses market changes with respect to liquidity pre- and post-crisis.