Singapore ousts China as Asia's No. 1 buyer of US commercial property

In one of the biggest Singapore buys last year, GIC took a 95 per cent stake in a joint venture which bought 60, Wall Street, a 1.6 million sq ft office tower that houses Deutsche Bank's US headquarters. PHOTO: GIC

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore replaced China as the biggest Asian investor in US commercial property last year.

It was the first time since 2012 that the city outspent China, according to data from Real Capital Analytics and Cushman & Wakefield. Deals by Chinese investors plunged 66 per cent to US$5.9 billion as regulators cracked down on capital outflows.

"We expect Singapore to continue to be the single largest source of Asian investments in the US real estate markets," said Priyaranjan Kumar, Cushman's regional executive director of capital markets for Asia Pacific, adding that money may flow into data centers, student accommodation and logistics.

Sovereign wealth fund GIC accounted for almost three-quarters of the US$9.5 billion of Singaporean purchases, investing in properties including 60 Wall Street in Manhattan, which houses the US headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG, and a portfolio of student accommodation.

Real estate firm CBRE Group anticipates similar trends in 2018, with Singapore's institutional investors diversifying abroad and China maintaining capital controls, said Yvonne Siew, executive director for capital advisory, Asia Pacific.

Besides GIC, the Singaporean buyers of US properties included developers, real estate investment trusts and logistic companies.

Singapore was No. 3 in the global rankings for US buys after Canada and France.

Singapore's investments in commercial property globally rose by about 40 per cent to US$28.4 billion last year, beating a record set in 2015, according to the data, which include land as well as developed properties.

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