Real Estate Report Book on First Quarter 2021

Asia Pacific’s commercial real estate market recorded more than $34 billion in direct investment in the first quarter of 2021, down less than 1 percent year-on-year, according to JLL. But investment volume fell 23 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, even as big upturns in Australia and Singapore showed the growing confidence of global investors, the global consultancy said in its Asia Pacific Capital Tracker report released. Looking at REITs globally, the portfolio manager said there is a seismic shift in the fundamentals of retail property, and investors could find opportunities in property sectors such as life sciences spaces, residential for rent and data communication towers and healthcare. Transactions in Japan ($11.5 billion), China ($8.3 billion), and South Korea ($4.3 billion) made up more than 70 percent of total investment volume in the period. However, developments had taken a back seat, with many countries experiencing little or lower new projects, as the pandemic is still uncertain in many areas. With the latest India's toll of 25 million infections, Taiwan reporting new cases, and Singapore going for a semi-lockdown. For Hong Kong, the first growth driver identified in the report is Hong Kong’s economic and business agenda. JLL’s analysts note that the powerful science and technology cluster within the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou region (ranked second in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index in 2020) will open up huge opportunities for business services in Hong Kong, while with fiscal reserves of HK$900 billion, the government has the resources to take care of immediate economic strains and invest in the future. The growth of the construction industry in the Asia Pacific was impacted in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the crisis, the long-term growth story remains intact. In APAC, the construction industry in Vietnam has been the best-performing one. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the sector continued to grow strongly in 2020. In China, the construction output is expected to record a sharp bounce back in 2021. Moreover, China is on its way to becoming the largest construction industry over the next decade. Though growth in residential construction remained subdued in 2020, the sector is expected to grow from 2021. Across developing markets in the region there is a strong government focus on affordable housing. For instance, the Indian government recently announced the Affordable Rental Housing Scheme (AHRC) scheme to provide affordable rental accommodation to migrant workers. Unfortunately, the huge rise of Covid cases may stem this segment of growth in 2021. Most of the governments in APAC are focusing on infrastructure development to help economic recovery. In China for instance, over the next fifteen years, the Chinese state railway operator also plans to double the size of its high-speed railway network. Thus, supporting the growth of its infrastructure construction sector. Moving forward, 2021, though promising, has not cleared the forest. We are still in the midst of many uncertainties. Corporate China is undergoing a 1.3 trillion bond maturity in 2021. Biden's $1.3 trillion infrastructure is still under talks on how to fund it. The European Union is grappling with the rise in cryptos and Asia is still challenged by the resurgence of the Covid pandemic. But one thing is for sure, the worst of 2020 is over and we can all look forward to a better 2021 or 2022.

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