Commercial real estate conditions experienced a bit of a slow start to the year in Asia, but this may be changing as the year rolls on.
Overall transaction volume in the Asia Pacific region reached $32 billion during the second quarter, comparable to the same three-month period last year, according to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle. This helped the first half of the year reach a level that is just 8 percent lower than the same level during the first six months of 2013.
The area with the most sustained commercial real estate performer in the region was Japan, the report noted. Despite this, the country took a step back from its strong showing during the first quarter. Meanwhile, Australia, China and South Korea all had stronger second quarters than the first three months.
"Global commercial property investment markets continue to perform well spurred on by improving economic data and occupational fundamentals," said Arthur de Haast, lead director of the international capital group at JLL. "While we are approaching transactional levels last seen in 2006, the nature of this cycle is very different. The return of fully functioning debt markets over the last 12-18 months has certainly played a part in improving investor sentiment, but the real driver of these increases in transactional volumes is more and more equity targeting direct commercial real estate."
Asian office market shows improvement to begin year
One aspect of the Asian commercial market that experienced notable improvements during the early part of the year was the office sector. According to a separate report from JLL, net effective rents rose in more than half of the top markets in the region during the first three months of the year.
"Given the improvements in the region's overall leasing activity over the first quarter, we are cautiously optimistic that leasing volumes will continue to grow, anything between 10 and 15 percent for the full year," said Jane Murray, head of research for Asia Pacific at JLL. "There are, however, some downside risks to this forecast including the on-going unrest in Ukraine and possible impacts relating to the military coup in Thailand and elections in Indonesia."
The average rental growth reached 0.8 percent during the first quarter, notably improved from the 0.2 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, the report added.