Asia Pacific commercial real estate investment volumes rose 3% in Q4 2023: JLL
Investments in the fourth quarter totalled USD 31.6 billion, representing a modest year-on-year uptick in investment volumes, breaking a seven-quarter slump
HONG KONG, 1 February 2024 – Commercial real estate investment in Asia Pacific rose 3% year-on-year (YoY) in Q4 2023 to USD 31.6 billion, reversing seven consecutive quarters of decreasing volumes. According to data and analysis by global real estate consulting firm JLL (NYSE:JLL), the Q4 2023 uptick in volumes provides some upside after a challenging year that saw overall investment across the region decline by 17% YoY to USD 106.8 billion.
Mainland China stood at the forefront of Asia Pacific's investment rebound for the second consecutive quarter, recording a 50% YoY increase in volume to USD 11.1 billion. Meanwhile, sectors such as logistics (down -5% to USD 6.5 billion) and living (up 24% to USD 1.5 billion) performed better than other sectors, especially in mainland China. Investments in office, down 13% YoY to USD 13.7 billion, continued to contract amid uncertainties on interest rate movements, the extent of re-pricing and occupancy.
Stuart Crow, CEO, Asia Pacific Capital Market at JLL, said: "While the cost of debt remains elevated, investors across Asia Pacific are still erring on the side of caution. The prospect of interest rate cuts in 2024 may potentially reverse current trends, but we can expect greater sector diversification among investors – particularly towards sectors such as logistics and industrial and living, which have seen high investor conviction across the region."
While mainland China was the most active market in the fourth quarter, Singapore experienced the steepest decline in investment volume – falling 29% YoY to USD 1.8 billion. However, while cross-border investments in Asia Pacific declined by 64% YoY to USD 3 billion in Q4 2023, Singapore emerged as the most active cross-border investor, making large hotel and logistics acquisitions across the region and accounting for 36% of quarterly investment volume.
Australia (USD 4.3 billion) and Hong Kong (USD 2.1 billion) both saw YoY improvements in investment volume, up 14% and 6%, respectively. The improvement of the retail sector in Australia was the main contributor to higher investment volumes in the fourth quarter, while Hong Kong's quarterly performance was bolstered by two sizeable office acquisitions made for occupation.
Oscar Chan, Head of Capital Markets at JLL in Hong Kong, said: "In the second half of 2023, investment volumes involving corporate/ occupier buyers in Hong Kong increased by 1.05 times compared to the first half, indicating a growing dominance of end-user buyers in the commercial property market. We expect the growth momentum in transaction volumes to continue through 2024, primarily underpinned by the sustained demand from retail occupiers."
Meanwhile, investment volumes in Japan recorded a regression to USD 4.4 billion, a 53% YoY dip, as concerns over the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) cessation of its negative interest rate policy impacted investor interest in office assets.
Despite a strong domestic capital bias in South Korea, large office transactions contributed to the market's USD 4.2 billion investment volume in Q4 2023 – which dipped by 7% YoY. While the leasing market held steady with low vacancy and positive rental growth, investment activities slowed down due to cautious investor sentiment.
Pamela Ambler, Head of Investor Intelligence, Asia Pacific at JLL, said: "2023 concluded with a reduction in dry powder levels, indicating that investors deployed capital into the Asia Pacific commercial real estate market and were willing to take a long-term view in light of current market challenges. In 2024, challenges will remain with interest rate movements playing a decisive factor in investment activity and selling pressure mounting in some of the region's bigger markets.".
Learn more in JLL’s Q4 2023 Capital Tracker.
For over 200 years, JLL (NYSE: JLL), a leading global commercial real estate and investment management company, has helped clients buy, build, occupy, manage and invest in a variety of commercial, industrial, hotel, residential and retail properties. A Fortune 500® company with annual revenue of $20.9 billion and operations in over 80 countries around the world, our more than 105,000 employees bring the power of a global platform combined with local expertise. Driven by our purpose to shape the future of real estate for a better world, we help our clients, people and communities SEE A BRIGHTER WAYSM. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.