Sudirman Central Business District on Jakarta. (Photo: The Insider Stories)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Firm economic growth and persistent low real interest rates will continue to drive occupier and investment property markets in Asia this year according to Colliers International (NASDAQ: CIGI; TSX: CIGI), in its Asia Market Snapshot 4Q 2017 report.

With robust economic growth and low real interest rates set to persist in Asia, investment property transaction volumes should remain high.

Terence Tang, Managing Director of Capital Markets and Investment Services at Colliers International, Asia mentioned 2017 ended with a flurry of activity across the region that showed few signs of abating as we entered the new year.

“While overall buoyant activities were witnessed across most markets and sectors, the office segment in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore stood out as a key focus for investors, signaling an improving business outlook on the back of a rebound in investment, trade and manufacturing,” said  Terence Tang.

Sentiment in some emerging markets, however, including Indonesia and India, remains cautious as investors gauge policy and regulatory changes amid an uncertain political environment.

However, these changes and the ambitious development plans taking shape around the region will be a key driver of opportunity in 2018 and beyond.

In China, for example, two urban redevelopment site transactions in the Pearl River Delta in 4Q totaled US$1.1 billion, while urban master plans to transform Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu into international gateway or global cities by 2035 will pave the way for attractive residential and commercial investment opportunities.

In terms of key Asian hubs, investment activity in Hong Kong gained further momentum in 4Q, with a new record set in the luxury residential market (an all-time Asia high for Mount Nicholson sold for over $16,700 per square feet).

Given the healthy pool of cash-rich buyers and funds, and aggressive local and mainland Chinese developers, this upward momentum is expected to continue throughout 1Q 2018, particularly in the office and residential sectors.

Singapore also witnessed a strong finish to the year on the back of better than expected economic conditions, with developers and investors aggressively pursuing deals across the residential and commercial sectors. The broadly positive economic outlook should continue to drive investment demand in these sectors and encourage developer participation in collective and land sales.

In Shanghai, office, business park and mixed-use assets continued to dominate the focus of investors, accounting for 15 of the 17 total transactions this quarter. Plans to develop the city into a national and global hub of finance and innovation will helpensure that it remains China’s most active en-bloc investment destination in 2018.

Investments remained the key driver behindacquisitions, accounting for 13 of the 17 transactions, totalling $4 billion or approximately 93 per cent of the total transaction volume for the 4th quarter. These positive trends are expected to continue throughout 1Q 2018.

The industrial and logistics sector also offers sound investment opportunities in markets such as the Philippines, where an influx of manufacturing investments and the rise of e-commerce are fueling demand, and Myanmar, where infrastructure remains limited but the success of existing special economic zones is encouraging local and foreign investment.

Continued growth is also witnessed in the hotel sector in Vietnam, where tourist interest is increasing and a successful year as APEC host has elevated the country’s profile, and Thailand, where visitor numbers continue to climb and contribute to interest in hospitality investments in the city-center.

Steve Atherton, Colliers International Indonesia Director of Capital Market and Investment Services said for Indonesia, even though there is a new, more cautious optimism amongst foreign investors in the property sector, the predominant interest remains in acquisition of existing income producing office buildings and logistics buildings.

On the new development end, the foreign developer interest remains mostly in the middle-low, middle and middle-up strata apartment segment as well as mixed-use developments and logistics.

Many of the new investors are seeking a long-term relationship with one or more experienced, local developers where they could co-invest and co-develop multiple projects over the next 5-10 year period.