Offshore Investors Eye Australian Commercial Property ‘Safe Haven’

May 17, 2012

Investors from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China are turning to the Australian commercial property market to combat lower local interest rate returns and the threat of continued global economic instability, says new property portal, CommercialAsia.com.

iProperty Group, ASX (IPP), Asia’s number one online property group, has launched the new commercial property website to assist Australian property owners and agents connect with the growing number of Asian investors keen to enter the Australian property.

“Australia’s steady economy and commercial property sector, particularly in those areas connected with the resources boom, offers Asian investors attractive yields and a ‘safe haven’ to preserve and grow their wealth,” says Corey Weekes, CommercialAsia.com’s National Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand.

“Region-wide cooling measures for property investment by Asian governments are also driving many Asian investors to explore offshore options like Australia,” says Mr Weekes.

Offshore-based institutions and private investors accounted for 37 per cent of Australia’s commercial sale transactions in 2011^. CommercialAsia.com provides property investors across Asia-Pacific with a simple way to browse commercial and industrial properties for sale or lease.

CommercialAsia.com draws on the iProperty Group’s existing network of property portals across Asia, which attracts 3.5 million unique visitors per month and have over 25,000 property agent customers.

To date, the site has more than 50,000 commercial and industrial properties listed for sale and lease by over 7,000 agents; including 1,000 Australian commercial properties listed from agents including Knight Frank and Burgess Rawson.

“CommercialAsia.com provides foreign investors with a tool to search commercial property to buy or lease in Australia and vice-versa,” says Mr Weekes

John Bowie Wilson, City Sales Director with Knight Frank, says the number of offshore investors interested in the Australian commercial property sector is increasing on a daily basis.

“The Asian investor market is more active than I’ve ever seen it before,” says Mr Bowie Wilson who has worked in the sector for fifteen years.

“As prices rise in Singapore and Hong Kong awaits a currency correction against the US dollar; investors are seeking ‘safe havens’ like Australia to provide them with secure compound growth investment options.

“Asian investors are typically capital-rich and have a good understanding of the requirements when investing in Australian property,” says Mr Bowie Wilson.

Mr Weekes notes that the foreign investors play a vital role in holding up Australian commercial property values.

“The recent drop in interest rates is helping local private and institutional investors to return to commercial property investments, however it is still a challenge for many domestic investors to raise capital,” says Mr Weekes.

Asia-Pacific investors can search CommercialAsia.com for office, retail, hotel and industrial properties and land by State or Territory, as well as by size and price.

The site uses unique geo-targeting to determine the most appropriate language for the user and search results are available in six different currencies.

“The introduction of CommercialAsia.com will add a real point of difference by allowing agents like us to access groups who won’t have considered Australian commercial property before and to start those initial conversations,” concludes Mr Bowie Wilson.

^ CBRE – Property Edge, Issue 2, 2011.