Interest in Asian property seen growing

Interest in Asian property seen growing


GIC Real Estate says weaker market favours those taking strategic position




(SINGAPORE) The sub-prime crisis may have affected Asian property markets, but interest in the sector is likely to grow. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp’s (GIC) real estate arm is also confident about investment opportunities going forward.


‘There is plenty to go around – we will all have fun competing,’ said president of GIC Real Estate Seek Ngee Huat at a property conference yesterday.


Going by the pace at which real estate projects are emerging in Asian cities, Dr Seek believed that there would be a continuous supply to meet different risk-return appetites.


Dr Seek recognised that the sub-prime crisis has weakened Asian markets, particularly Japan and Australia. ‘The contagion effects of the sub-prime crisis . . . can potentially accelerate the downward spin of the current cycle,’ he said.


Nevertheless, the outlook for the property market was not entirely bleak. ‘Weak markets favour those who have capacity to take a strategic position,’ Dr Seek said. ‘The sub-prime meltdown presents threats but there are also opportunities. ‘


And many around the world are likely to see investment opportunities in Asian property markets as well. ‘Massive build-up of investment funds in the world, coupled with the attraction of Asia as a growth region of the future, will ensure continuous global interest in Asian real estate,’ said Dr Seek. He pointed out that this will inevitably lead to greater competition.


Dr Seek said that GIC Real Estate had focused mainly on developed markets in its first 10 years, and only started investing in Asia in the 1990s. Even then, it was ‘way ahead’ of other institutional investors.


GIC Real Estate ranks among the world’s top 10 real estate investment firms, according to its website. The unit has over 200 investments across more than 30 countries, culminating in a multi-billion US dollar portfolio.


GIC Real Estate had in March, through its affiliate Reco Hotels JV Private Ltd, entered into a joint venture with Host Hotels & Resorts Inc to explore investment opportunities in Asia and Australia. The real estate unit also bought the Westin Tokyo hotel for about 80 billion yen (S$1.05 billion) in February.


Source: Business Times

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