Asian property sector to benefit from Belt & Road

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Property markets in major Southeast Asian and South Asian countries will benefit from China's Belt and Road Initiative in the coming five years, with Indonesia and the Philippines likely becoming the biggest winners, a Colliers International report said.

Investment will be led by big infrastructure projects in countries and regions related to the initiative. "Such projects will stimulate growth in wealth, enhancing existing investment possibilities," said Andrew Haskins, executive director of research, Colliers Asia.

According to Haskins, most Southeast Asian property markets have long-run attractions, with Indonesia and the Philippines standing out. Shortage of stock suggests development projects with local partners will be key to market access, and opportunities will center on industrial and residential property.

The report from real estate consultancy Colliers International indicated that Chinese investment in property in Southeast Asia and South Asia reached US$2.5 billion in 2017, nearly four times the level of 2016 and the second highest after US$4.1 billion in 2013.

In particular, Singapore was the clear focus of interest, accounting for US$2.1 billion of investment, or 84 percent of the total, followed by Malaysia and Indonesia, with US$246 million and US$169 million respectively, according to the report.

The report forecast that in the coming five years, the Belt and Road Initiative, coupled with the firm Chinese economy and renminbi strength, will drive Chinese investment in emerging Southeast and South Asian markets.

Earlier this year, Knight Frank, an independent global property consultancy, reported that over the past four years, Singapore (US$3.87 billion), Malaysia (US$2.37 billion) and South Korea (US$2.74 billion) were the top recipients of Chinese outbound real estate investment in countries and regions related to the initiative.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is one of the clearest manifestations of China's vision and influence. The infrastructure and investment underpinning the Belt and Road Initiative will streamline trade flows and lift economic activity in much of Asia, the Middle East, and North and Eastern Africa," said Kevin Coppel, regional head of Knight Frank Asia-Pacific.

China has become an increasingly important player in global property markets. According to Real Capital Analytics (RCA), outbound Chinese real estate investment reached an all-time high of US$39.5 billion in 2017, which represents a sevenfold increase from 2012 and an 8 percent rise year-on-year.

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