An institutional real estate investor is a large company or organization with substantial capital and an allocation to real estate investments. Pension funds, life insurance companies, investment banks, sovereign wealth funds, and endowments are examples of institutional investors. Most often, the institutional investor act as the limited partner in a real estate partnership, providing equity capital while relying on the general partner (sponsor) for geographic and property type expertise. Given their size and ready access to the capital markets, institutional investors tend to have a lower cost of capital than their non-institutional counterparts, allowing them to pay more for real estate assets.

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