US result tipped to be a stabiliser

US result tipped to be a stabiliser

THE re-election of the US President, Barack Obama, is expected to provide stability to global office markets on the expectation that a solid US will underpin world growth.

As markets have settled and companies look to expand in an improving economy, the US result has been tipped to spur more activity among property investors.

This will occur between Australia and Asia, and the US and its more traditional trading partner, Europe.

Due to attention being diverted to the long and tough race for the presidency, global office real estate values and rents were largely unchanged in the third quarter, according to CBRE Group research.

The CBRE Global Office Capital Value Index ticked up 0.6 per cent during the quarter, while the CBRE Global Office Rent Index edged down slightly, falling 0.07 per cent.

The rent index comprises data from 123 cities around the world.


In his latest report, the global chief economist at CBRE, Raymond Torto, says office property values and rents in the Americas improved during the quarter, but could not fully make up for weakness in Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

''Commercial real estate investors and occupiers turned more cautious in response to political, fiscal and economic uncertainty,'' he says.

''Despite this, office rents and values have held their ground as both the leasing and value indices remain above 2011 levels.

''We see this as a pause in the market, not a fundamental change in underlying market dynamics.''

The report shows the Asia-Pacific Capital Value Index is the only index above the peak of 2007.

''Asia-Pacific, including Singapore, had a strong recovery from mid-2010 to the end of 2011,'' the report says.

''That recovery has now stalled in the face of reduced export opportunities resulting from Europe's sovereign debt crisis and the US's sub-par economic recovery.''

The NSW head of capital transactions at Knight Frank, James Parry, said fierce competition for trophy assets had driven investors to return to the Asia-Pacific region for a range of opportunities.

In the latest global report from Knight Frank, it says the global economy contains a number of immediate risks and the recovery from the global financial crisis is proving to be longer and more arduous than after previous downturns.

''Recent gross domestic product forecasts for 2013 have been revised down across the board, with growth in the stronger-performing emerging markets now also expected to slow,'' the report says.

The head of research and consulting services at Knight Frank, Matt Whitby, said that in the medium term it would be likely Australian funds would follow the lead of Canadian funds and look offshore to supplement and diversify away from relatively small domestic markets.

''Initial target countries are expected to be the larger, more transparent and liquid markets of Europe and North America, given that most of these funds have limited international experience and will initially adopt a relatively cautious investment strategy,'' he said.

Carolyn Cummins

Carolyn Cummins is Commercial Property Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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