The highlights of 2013

December 23, 2013 / By  

It’s been another interesting year in Asia Pacific. We’ve seen quite a bit of change in economic dynamics across the region, while in the real estate sector it’s been a time of cautious corporates and busy investors. The 2013 highlights:

China and Japan dominated the headlines. The region’s number 1 and 2 economies made good strides in addressing their challenges. China averted a hard landing and its government has pushed hard on a range of “austerity” measures. The Japanese government launched a massive stimulus program to reignite economic growth and we’ll get a better idea over the next 12 months as to the success of Abenomics.

The leasing and investment disconnect widened. Ongoing global uncertainties have seen corporates remain cautious in their hiring and space requirements, and 2013 is likely to be the weakest year for AP office leasing activity since 2009. At the same time, QE and ultra-low borrowing costs have driven strong commercial real estate investment activity – so strong, in fact, that 2013 is likely to equal the previous record back in 2007. We’re forecasting leasing activity to pick up next year and investment volumes to strengthen further, so it will be interesting to see when the disconnect starts to narrow.

Chinese outbound investment is set for a record year, with commercial volumes up 25% y-o-y as at the end of Q3. The major destinations for this capital have been Europe, the US, Australia and Singapore. Chinese buyers and developers have also been very active in overseas residential markets.

e-commerce accelerated across the region, a trend which is sure to drive major change in the retail and logistics sectors in the years ahead. At the same time, international retailers have continued to set up shop in Asia Pacific, attracted by our region’s high economic growth and increasing wealth levels.

The residential sector saw strong demand in many markets including China and South East Asia. Interest rate cuts also stimulated sales activity in Australia. Meanwhile in Hong Kong and Singapore, transaction levels have fallen following a series of cooling measures aimed at keeping a lid on home prices.

On behalf of the AP Research team, I would like to wish our readers a very happy festive season. We hope you’ve enjoyed our blogs this year – we’ll be back in January with the start of our 2014 series.

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