Sydney, London and LA among top targets for commercial property investors: CBRE

Sydney, London and LA among top targets for commercial property investors: CBRE
Sydney, London and LA among top targets for commercial property investors: CBRE

Sydney has emerged as the destination of choice for commercial property investors in the APAC region, as US$1.7 trillion capital waiting to be deployed in real estate globally this year, according to a new survey by CBRE.

Stronger economic growth, the availability of debt capital, and a more positive outlook from investors is expected to drive global capital flows in 2017, says CBRE Global Investor Intentions Survey 2017.

The survey reveals that investors have ample capital and a strong motivation to invest in real estate because of its relatively high income yield. North America is the preferred region for investors, with London, Los Angeles and Sydney the most popular cities in each of the major regions. Office is the most popular asset sector, with logistics up strongly in 2017 and a very close second.

The sum total of planned capital expenditure in real estate by investors is $1.7 trillion, it says. A majority of investors indicate that their buying activity will increase or remain the same compared to 2016. Those investors planning to spend more (40 percent) outweigh those planning to spend less (16 percent) by a margin, indicating a continuing positive attitude to real estate as an asset class.

There were nearly 2,000 respondents globally who participated in the survey, with investor types spread across fund/asset managers, insurers, pension and sovereign wealth funds, in addition to private investors such as real estate companies and developers.

Despite a volatile global political environment and key European elections set to take place in France and Germany, investors are relatively unconcerned about global or local politics. Investors’ main concerns are: an undefined ‘global economic shock’ (22 percent) and ‘faster than expected rises in interest rates’ (21 percent). The latter concern is felt much more strongly this year and is the biggest change from 2016.

“This time last year, investors were reeling from the volatility in world stock markets, now they are seeing equities reach record highs and economic sentiment is positive. Although there is uncertainty about the direction that economic policy will take, there is also a growing anticipation that changes will unlock growth,” said Chris Ludeman, global president, Capital Markets, CBRE.

“While there are some clouds on the horizon–emerging market debt looks problematic as does Greece’s financial situation–economic momentum, alongside the yield advantages of property as an asset class, should ensure another year of substantial capital flows into global real estate.” 

In last year’s survey, investors favoured core assets over secondary and value-added risk classes. That trend has partially reversed in 2017 with a fall in demand for core assets and an increased interest in core-plus and opportunistic assets. Nearly half of investors (48%) cite the high price of real estate as the main obstacle to deploying capital. This increased interest in core-plus and opportunistic reflects that issue, but it also shows that investors are slightly more ‘risk on’ than they were last year.

In the Americas, Los Angeles is the stand-out preference for investors. Dallas/Fort Worth has moved into second place. Washington, D.C. is the biggest mover, entering the top six at fourth position, having not featured last year. Atlanta moves up one place and Seattle is in sixth position, having not made the top tier last year.

Within EMEA, London remains the most attractive city for investors. Berlin has moved up two places to become the second most preferred destination. While there is some concern about European elections, so far this does not seem to have dampened appetite for real estate. The survey shows that, despite the uncertainty over Brexit, investors are increasingly interested in the UK.

In APAC, Sydney is once again the top destination, with Tokyo second by some distance. Australia’s cities remain highly popular with APAC investors because of their liquidity, transparency and positive long-term prospects. Seoul has dropped out of the top six and Hong Kong has moved in.

Office is the preferred sector for investors (26 percent), with multifamily (21 percent) and logistics (22 percent) also highly popular. The preference for retail has dropped sharply from last year (21percent to 12 percent). Americas-based investors have a strong preference for logistics and multifamily; two sectors that have performed extremely well this cycle due to changes in technology and demographics. EMEA and APAC investors have relatively more interest in the offices and retail sectors.

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Sydney Commercial Investment

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