This paper examines herding behaviour among investors and traders in UK-listed Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) within three market regimes (low, high and extreme volatility periods) from the period June 2004 to April 2016.

Observations of investors in 36 REITs that trade on the London Stock Exchange as at April 2016 were used to analyse herding behaviour among investors and traders of shares of UK REITs, employing a Markov regime-switching model.

Although a static herding model rejects the existence of herding in REITs markets, estimates from the regime-switching model reveal substantial evidence of herding behaviour within the low volatility regime. Most interestingly, we observed a shift from anti-herding behaviour within the high volatility regime to herding behaviour within the low volatility regime, with this having been caused by the FTSE 100 Volatility Index (UK VIX). 

The results have various implications for decisions regarding asset allocation, diversification and value management within UK REITs. Market participants and analysts may consider that collective movements and market sentiment/psychology are determinative factors of risk-return in UK REITs. In addition, general uncertainty in the equity market, proxied by the impact of the UK VIX, may also provide a signal for increasing herding-related risks among UK REITs.