The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) Property Index (NPI) posted an annual (unleveraged) return total of 13.33 percent for 2015—the highest return total since the Index posted 14.26 percent in 2011. Property appreciation return was also quite high last year, at 8.03 percent—representing the highest appreciation level since 2007, when it was 9.88 percent.

However, the index might be slowly coming off its high, as in the fourth quarter it posted a total return of 2.91 percent—below the 3.09 percent reported for the third quarter. The figure was also below the 3.04 percent return posted for the fourth quarter of 2014.

By property type, retail delivered the highest quarterly and annual returns, at 3.46 percent for the fourth quarter and 15.28 percent for the full-year 2015. The industrial sector followed closely, with a total return of 3.19 percent for the fourth quarter and 14.87 percent for the year.

Apartment properties, on the other hand, delivered total return of only 2.73 percent for the fourth quarter and office properties were at the bottom of the pyramid, with total return of 2.58 percent. The sectors’ performance in the quarter mirrored a year-long trend. Office properties delivered annual total return of 12.5 percent in 2015, while apartment properties delivered total return of 12.0 percent.

Hotels were in the middle of the pack, posting total return of 3.03 percent for the fourth quarter and 13.2 percent for full-year 2015.

The NCREIF Property Index tracks properties that have been acquired on behalf of tax-exempt institutions and held in a fiduciary environment. The Index is based on quarterly returns on individual properties before investment management fees are taken out.