Australian property investment surges in Q2 2019 as China, Japan slump

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Australia topped the Asia Pacific commercial real estate investment rankings in the second quarter of 2019, as China and Japan property investment volumes fell to the lowest levels in a decade.

Australian commercial property investment reached US$8.4bn in Q2 2019, up 13% compared to the same period in the previous year, according to Real Capital Analytics.

The firm said the Australian market had been bolstered by renewed investor confidence in the wake of the national election and foreign capital flows.

During the same quarter, Japanese commercial property investment levels fell 18% year-on-year to $5.3bn while Chinese real estate capital flows plummetted 39% to $3.2bn.

“Australia’s leading second-quarter performance clearly stands out among the top five biggest Asia Pacific real estate investment markets, as there was a sharp uptick in the consolidation of property ownership over the period and a handful of large domestic deals,” said David Green-Morgan, managing director for Asia Pacific at RCA.

“But the generally dismal picture elsewhere, with the notable exception of Singapore, is less gloomy than it may at first appear because it is being compared with last year’s record-breaking deal volumes in key markets.”

Total Asia Pacific property investment transactions were down 19% YOY to $34.4bn in Q2 2019, with the US-China trade war and global economic slowdown weighing on confidence.

However, RCA noted there may be a bounce-back later this year, having already recorded $10bn in completed deals for Q3 2019 and a further $20bn worth of deals pending.

Investors appear to be betting on safe havens with transparent and liquid real estate markets rather than regional or smaller cities amid the current geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

RCA found that 69% of all capital deployed across Asia Pacific during the second quarter was allocated to the eight largest markets – the highest proportion since 2011.