Australian hotel market resilient, attractive for overseas investors: Savills

Australian hotel market resilient, attractive for overseas investors: Savills
Australian hotel market resilient, attractive for overseas investors: Savills

GUEST OBSERVER

Q3/2016 registered US$2.26 billion worth of investment transactions, representing a 15.0 percent increase over Q3/2015 (US$1.96 billion).

The number of transactions was also significantly lower.

Forty transactions were closed this quarter, while 46 transactions were recorded over the same quarter the previous year. The average transaction price was US$56.4 million, which was signi cantly higher than the US$42.6 million in Q3 a year ago. Japan commanded the largest share of total sales volume in the region this quarter, and all 13 transacted assets were acquired by Japanese investors. We expect growth of transaction volumes for the region for full-year 2016 to be subdued, mainly due to the lack of opportunities in core markets.

Eastern Asia

Japan continued to be one of the most active markets in APAC. Despite a quarter-to-quarter decline in sales volume of 32.1 percent, the total volume of JPY88.2 billion (US$865.5 million) was still the highest in the region. The hotel investment market has seen a series of large transactions in 2016, even as other sectors of Japan’s real estate market have retrenched.

Japan’s explosive growth in inbound tourism and its chronic lack of room supply have created a real interest in the hotel market, and players are leaping to take advantage. The Real Estate Investor Survey by the Japan Real Estate Institute (JREI) reports that expected cap rates on economy hotels in prime Tokyo locations have compressed from 5.4% to 5.0% since 1H/2015.

Hotel transactions frequently occur outside the nation’s capital, however – only seven transactions occurred in Tokyo in 1H/2016, according to Real Capital Analytics – resulting in a wide range of cap rates. We assume actual transaction cap rates to be much lower than JREI’s surveyed gure of 5.0 percent, because winning bidders tend to expect aggressive increases in ADR.

The largest buyer of the quarter was Japan Hotel REIT Investment Corporation (JHR) with the purchase of three hotels – Hotel Vista Grande Osaka, Hilton Nagoya and Hotel Ascent Fukuoka. The total sale was worth approximately JPY47.1 billion. Hotel Vista Grand Osaka will be rebranded into Holiday Inn Osaka Namba by the end of 2016, according to a JHR press release. Hotel Vista Grande Osaka was the largest transaction in Japan, sold by GK Apollo for JPY27.0 billion (US$267.3 million), or JPY85.9 million (US$851,275) per key. This was followed by Hilton Nagoya which was acquired at JPY15.2 billion (US$150.9 million), or JPY33.1 million (US$328,207) per key.

In June, Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry announced a plan to relax the oor area ratio of buildings by 1.5 times, or up to an additional 300 percent for hotel constructions. The new standards are expected to substantially increase accommodation capacity following Japan`s continuous increase in foreign visitors and the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Although based on this relaxed regulation, each local government is required to decide on their regional floor area ratios under the City Planning Law, and therefore the price of the land for hotel usage in major cities is expected to increase.

In China, sellers’ expectations remained high, and the continued lack of debt nancing for hotel projects has led major Chinese hotel investors to continue to look overseas for either tourism-related investments or refocus into investing in commercial assets or companies in other industries with high growth potential.

Chinese investors’ interest in Australian assets was evident in this quarter, concluding ve transactions there with a total of A$474.7 million (US$352.8 million), representing 15.6% of total volume in the quarter.

Hong Kong’s rst transaction of 2016 was closed this quarter, with the sale of A3 Hotel in Temple Street at HK$108 million (US$13.9 million), or HK$2.4 million (US$309,400) per key.

Southeast Asia

There were only two transactions in Southeast Asia this quarter. The Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel changed hands between IGB and
S. Alam Group for MYR765 million (US$187.4 million), or MYR840,659 (US$205,890) per key.

There was no transaction in the same period the previous year. Malaysia has suffered from the sharp fall in international tourist arrivals, particularly those from China, since the airline disasters of two years ago. This quarter, however, the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association reported that the Chinese source market had shown some signs of recovery. According to Tourism Malaysia, international visitor numbers for 1H/2016 grew 3.7 percent, with remarkable increases from China and Thailand at 32.1 percent each and Laos at 26.8 percent. 

The Singapore hotel investment market remained inactive this quarter, due mainly to the lack of suitably priced assets and the tightened control of room stock by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. In Q2 and Q3, some 2,200 new rooms were added, mostly outside the central area, and 66 percent of the total was in the midscale category. Room nights sold for 1H/2016 rose 6.4 percent year-on-year, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. As of July 2016, the city state registered an increase of 11.5 percent year- to-date (YTD) for inbound international visitors. The Chinese source market jumped remarkably by 49.2 percent, followed by Thailand at 14.9 percent. This upward trend, however, is likely to be impacted to a certain extent by the Zika outbreak in August which has prompted a few countries to issue advisories warning travellers of the dangers of the mosquito-transmitted disease.

Australia and New Zealand

There were 17 transactions in Australia, totalling approximately A$943.2 million (US$716.4 million) this quarter, compared to 16 in the same period last year. In terms of volume, however, there was a remarkable increase from A$381.2 million (US$282.3 million) recorded in Q3/2015 compared to this quarter.

One recent notable sale was that of Novotel Melbourne on Collins from LaSalle Investment to Singapore- listed Frasers Hospitality Trust for A$237 million (US$ 178.7 million), or A$623,684 (US$470,290) per key. The purchase was part of the Trust’s plan to grow its hotel portfolio. Melbourne’s hospitality sector has been given the boost to grow, driven by the completion of Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 4, the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and development of several projects such as the Docklands and Fishermans’ Bend. Tourism Australia expects total visitor nights in the state of Victoria to grow at an average of between 4.0% and 4.6 percent for the next three years.

So far this year, the Australia market has been resilient and attractive for overseas investors due to its currency uctuations which has led to an increase in inbound travellers and, consequently, hotel performance.

New Zealand has captured a fair amount of interest from investors so far this year. Investment volume for the rst three quarters of this year totalled NZ$236.4 million from 11 transactions. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise released a report this year pointing out the shortage of hotel rooms in the country and highlighted investment opportunities to cope with this shortfall, especially in key cities such as Auckland, Queenstown, Rotorua and Christchurch. It also reported that in 2015, Auckland and Queenstown had consistently high occupancy rates of above 80 percent throughout the year, while Rotorua and Christchurch had seasonal peaks of also above 80%. Based on historical preferences, upscale and luxury rooms are expected to have a strong demand.

In recent years, New Zealand has seen remarkable growth in international visitor arrivals, rising 9.6 percent for full-year 2015; growth for the eight years prior to this did not rise above 6.0 percent. For 2016 YTD July, international visitor arrivals grew an impressive 11.2 percent. 

 

Simon Smith is senior director, Research and Consultancy, Hong Kong Savills and can be contacted here.

Tags: 
Asia Pacific Hotel Market

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