Money from more than 50 offshore firms – totalling $18.5 billion – is making its way to the Australian commercial property market, according to research from Cushman & Wakefield.
The commercial real estate group’s director, investment sales, Tony Dixon, says money from Singapore-based investment firms is leading the charge to our shores, with other Asia Pacific countries, as well as European and US firms, following suit.
"Our regular discussions with our international partners clearly indicate that the appetite for Australian assets runs deep and wide across the globe. We are receiving new enquiries from high profile investors on a weekly basis and in many instances these firms are demonstrating a willingness to pay a premium, especially those who are taking a trophy hunter approach with their acquisition strategy," says Dixon.
He says existing asset owners are reaching a critical stage, as the intense weight of international money, coupled with the growing investment capacity of domestic superannuation firms, creates a situation where it may be attractive not to take assets to market.
Cushman & Wakefield research shows Singaporean firms have the largest allocation for Australian investment, totalling an estimated US$4.1 billion (A$4.46 billion), with firms out of the US, Malaysia and China next in line in terms of weight of money.
"Unsurprisingly, there is a uniform preference among offshore investors for prime grade properties in core CBD markets with long term leases in place. However, due to the limited availability of stock, there is also a growing recognition that secondary assets are worthy of consideration," says Dixon.
At the moment, Cushman & Wakefield associate director, research and consultancy, Peter Ainge, believes the major international investors have merely ‘dipped their toes in the water’ when it comes to Australian acquisitions - but a more direct and aggressive move is on the short term cards.
"There are a few key indicators suggesting a wealth of money is headed our way. Over the past three years, five out of the 10 largest property purchasers in the world have bought property within Australia," says Ainge.
"Our research has identified over 50 offshore firms that have a definite mandate for Australian investment. Then there are the many other firms who may not have a direct mandate, but would be willing to invest in Australia if the right opportunity presents itself.”