Asia-based investors eye Canberra: Colliers

Staff ReporterJuly 13, 20160 min read

Sydney and Melbourne have traditionally been a favourite of offshore property investors, but now Canberra seems to be catching up, according to real estate firm Colliers International.

The firm expects several new entrants in Canberra over the next 12 months, according to a media release.

Matthew Winter, an investment services executive at Colliers, met investors in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou and learnt about their interest in Canberra. 

“Investors are keen to learn more about Australia’s capital city, Canberra,” he said. 

“Over the past six months there’s been an increase in enquiry to secure Canberra assets by foreign investors, however, many large investors are sitting back and watching the property market before making their move.”

Canberra Airport will offer direct flights to Singapore later this year, making it easier for investors to visit the city and inspect potential assets, he said.

“Asia-based investors understand the relative value of Canberra assets with long-term government tenants, which was seen with the Louisa Lawson building sale late last year for $225 million to South Korean property investor, FG Asset Management. The building was sold with a cap rate of six per cent which is a much better return compared to what many Asian investors are getting in their own countries.”

He cited the example of Japan which currently has negative interest rates and a bond yield of 0.2 per cent, while investing in Australian property can easily earn six to seven per cent returns in the long term.

One of the obstacles of securing foreign investment in Canberra is the scale of property, which is often significantly smaller than what investors are after, according to Colliers International. Many wealthy private investors and syndicates in Asia are looking to spend in excess of $100 to $150 million to build large-scale precincts or acquire large core-plus assets. 

Asian city skylines are filled with apartment towers as developers try to achieve the maximum yield of units on the sites. Often these developments are built quickly and the quality of the developments vary. 

In Shenzhen, single developers are known for constructing 15 to 20 towers on one site, more than 40-storeys high per tower and the design of the towers are identical.

In Singapore, the landscape looks significantly different to many other Asian cities. Singapore has a mix of heritage and new buildings, however, they have a lot of planning controls in place to encourage the development of green buildings and green living. Many developments are of high quality and designed to be environmentally friendly.

Matthew said that more than 100 investors gathered in Singapore to hear from Colliers about the Australian property market on his recent trip.

“Unlike in Hong Kong and China where majority of investors are wealthy privates and developers, Singapore has more Institutions and REITs looking to invest in Australia.

Colliers has showcased 97 properties across nine Asian cities in the past three years, meeting with Asia-based investment groups which has resulted in more than $1 billion in property transactions.


Staff Reporter

Overseas Investment
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