CBRE: S'pore investors put $7.9b in offshore commercial property

Singapore investors spent US$5.7 billion (S$7.9 billion) in offshore commercial real estate investments in the first half of this year.

The outlay made Singapore the second-largest source of Asian outbound capital after South Korea, said real estate agency CBRE.

South Korean investors chalked up US$6.8 billion worth of overseas transactions in the first half.

Outbound capital flows from Singapore fell 37 per cent in the first half compared with the same period last year. They also plunged more than 50 per cent from the second half of last year, which could be seasonal as Singapore-based investors tend to be more active in the second half of the year - a trend observed since 2013, CBRE said.

Mr Hugh Menck, executive director of capital markets at CBRE Singapore, said: "While investors from Singapore have been active in overseas investments in 2017 and 2018, the looming global economic uncertainties may have moderated their pace in general.

"In particular, Singapore-based investors have turned more active in China in the past 12 months to leverage weaker competition from domestic investors.

"Given the sheer market size, China remains a major market for investors who are focused on long-term growth."

The report also noted that there is continued strong demand from Singapore-based buyers seeking opportunities in mature economies, particularly in cities in the United States and Western Europe, with some buyers looking to Ireland and Poland.

An emerging trend is to pursue higher yields and alternative investments, including student accommodation and data centres.

Taken together, Asian outbound commercial real estate investment amounted to US$19 billion for the first half of the year, 25 per cent decline year on year.

Despite a moderation in global capital market flows, the momentum in Asia is being spurred by new sources of capital looking for diversification, a low interest rate environment, historically low yields, and the increasing popularity of new destinations, CBRE said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'CBRE: S'pore investors put $7.9b in offshore commercial property'. Print Edition | Subscribe