Asia Pacific commercial real estate investment to rise by five per cent in 2019, says JLL
Urbanisation and demographics continue to create opportunities for investors amid late-cycle environment
Asia Pacific’s overall real estate transaction volumes in 2019 are expected to rise by five per cent, though the pace of growth momentum will slow down, says global real estate consultant JLL.
“A decade into the economic cycle, investors are contending with macro risks and geopolitical uncertainty such as rising interest rates, continued trade tensions between the U.S. and China, as well as strains in the EU caused by Brexit negotiations,” says Mr Stuart Crow, Head of Capital Markets, JLL Asia Pacific.
“Against this backdrop, real estate continues to look attractive as a safe haven for investments, with its portfolio diversification benefits and relatively higher returns compared to other asset classes. However, in this late-cycle environment, investors are becoming more selective and disciplined in exiting investments because it’s getting harder to find income-producing alternatives.”
In Asia Pacific, real estate demand will continue to be driven by its strong demographic fundamentals. The region’s urban population is expected to exceed 400 million people by 2027, while the population aged 65 and above will rise by 146 million people within the next 10 years. By 2021, Asia Pacific’s e-commerce market is projected to grow to US$1.6 trillion.
James Taylor, Head of Research, JLL Indonesia, says: “Investor interest is likely to remain strong in Indonesia in 2019.The office and retail markets are tightly held and the most likely entry points for investors are development sites and/or partnerships with local groups. The upcoming MRT and LRT infrastructure developments present new opportunities for investors while the modern logistics warehouse market is likely to continue to be a focus for local and international groups.”
According to JLL, there are the five key trends that will shape the industry in Asia Pacific in 2019.
1. Growth in ‘living’ assets
The region’s increasing urban population has seen a growing demand for alternative residential arrangements, including student accommodation, co-living, multi-family, nursing homes and aged care.
For investors, these living sectors offer attractive yields and long-term growth prospects as well as an opportunity for portfolio diversification. “These new sectors are set to outperform traditional residential assets given their efficient use of space, superior building management, and generally higher entry yields,” explains Mr Crow. “Aged care, for instance, offers returns of 11 to 14 per cent in Tokyo, and 8 to 12 per cent in Singapore.”
2. Building flexible spaces to attract talent
Businesses are increasingly using shared workspaces as a way to foster innovation among employees and win the war for talent. This renewed focus on building human experiences has led to an uptick in flexible offices – including coworking and serviced offices – across the region.
Dr Megan Walters, Head of Asia Pacific Research, JLL says: “By 2030, flexible work spaces could comprise 30 per cent of some corporate commercial property portfolios worldwide. This means that market consolidation will become more common – landlords and developers will start to create their own flexible space offerings, form joint ventures with coworking providers, or look at mergers and acquisitions among coworking brands.”
3. Rise of logistics and data centres
With Asia Pacific leading global e-commerce adoption, there is rising pressure for organisations to establish their data storage infrastructure as well as warehousing facilities for physical retail goods.
James Taylor says: “The modern logistics warehouse market has been growing for the past few years in Indonesia and investors continue to tap into occupier demand from e-commerce, consumer goods groups, third party logistics firms and manufacturers. Occupancy remains high and the market undersupplied – particularly in Greater Jakarta and Surabaya. Meanwhile, the data center market remains immature in Indonesia but with some international groups already testing the water, rapid growth is possible.”
4. Shift towards debt exposure
With banks tightening their lending criteria, this leaves a gap for non-bank and offshore lenders to enter the market, particularly in Australia, India and China, according to Mr Crow. As a result, there is a spike in investors turning to global offshore lenders who provide flexible forms of either debt or equity on selected projects.
Likewise, institutional investors are also expanding their footprint into real estate debt. Mr Crow adds: “Debt investment is one way to curb risk in a portfolio and investors are increasingly looking at ways to use debt to shield them from market volatility and falling property incomes.”
5. Evolution of smart cities
With smart city initiatives pushing ahead in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia, Asia Pacific has seen an increasing need to build better digital infrastructures to maximise efficiency, sustainability and improve the living conditions for inhabitants.
Dr Walters explains: “Proptech – the convergence of real estate and technology – plays a key role in the future development of cities. As smart cities are highly data-driven, smart property development and management enable extensive data collection and analytics – both of which are crucial for cities to create more livable environments for their growing populations.”
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of over 90,000 as of December 31, 2018. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com