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Yin-yang theory spurs guru to predict bright property future

A NEW research guru at Savills Australia is not averse to taking a philosophical approach to the commercial property market.

''The Chinese have a system, the ancient philosophy of logic known as yin-yang theory. This theory posits that all things should be viewed as a holistic entity - including both positive and negative attributes - rather than being studied as an isolated case,'' said Savills' new Victorian director of research, Glenn Lampard. ''No single thing could be understood in isolation or without considering the environment in which it existed. Successful investors/entrepreneurs understand this.''

Mr Lampard said the current cycle had some very positive opportunities: there weren't as many buyers; vendors were being forced to lower their prices; yields were better; and long-term capital appreciation prospects were improved.

If buying a well-located property with a strong lease under those conditions, the investment should do well. Similarly, leasing at the same stage in the cycle could help astute tenants. ''Because others are not in the market, there is likely to be less competition, which means greater choice of location, presumably lower rents, better incentives, potential to take over an existing fitout, more whole-floor options, more energy-saving options, and greater staff amenity.''

In short, Mr Lampard said the outlook in Australia for investors and developers was bright. Property markets were emerging from a period of relative inactivity, following the eurozone crisis.

■Despite headlines about staff cuts, the finance and insurance sector will grow, bolstering the office market. Low vacancy, a promising level of leasing inquiry and little construction growth, will push up rents.

■Industrial should record some growth in ''build and lease'' projects, especially in the sub-2000 sq m sector. Closeness to road, port, air and rail will generate the most demand from transport companies. Rents should remain stable.

■Retail is a mixture of doom and gloom. Key factors include interest rate cuts, the growth of online shopping, and an increase in services at shopping centres as department stores decline and supermarkets gain anchor tenant status.