APAC Real Estate H2 Report

February 2020

APAC Real Estate Half Year Review
and 2020 Outlook

Welcome to Aurex Group’s latest market review for Real Estate professionals across APAC; a summary of the past year and a forward look into 2020. Our own growth across the region in recent months has provided us with deeper coverage across our client partnerships and extended our market insight. The forecast and guidance ouered in our APAC Real Estate Half Year Review in 2019 has seen much of the continued growth expected across the region, key asset classes, and investment trends. Despite events in some local markets auecting the short-term market response, Real Estate optimism continues to focus on the long-term outlook.

Regional Overview

Real Estate investment in APAC posted a remarkable 10% year-on-year increase in the first three quarters of 2019 to reach US$125 billion5. This was joined by capital Pow into the region being up 23% year-on-year as well. Comparatively, the United States and Europe fell into a decreasing trend. The figures highlight the significant capital held by regional institutions and sovereign  funds that is outgrowing the capacity of their domestic markets to absorb1. Looking to 2020, ANREV reports a minimum of US$101 billion being earmarked for investment in Real Estate globally with 95% of institutional investors surveyed intending to deploy new capital into the sector8.

“95% of institutional investors to deploy new capital into Real Estate sector in 2020”

Commercial Office Sector Adapts to Stay on Top

Singapore is leading the way regionally, ranking first in Investment and second in Development according to PWC.

One of the most notable trends within the APAC Real Estate market for 2019 was the Commercial Ofice sector continuing as the most popular asset class as highlighted by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) in their latest Emerging Trends in Real Estate Review 1. This is despite the uncertainty around Pexible workspaces, which occupy the fastest growing portion of the sector, for the unreliability of their business models.

Adapting to client expectations within competitive  market conditions, we are also seeing landlords begin to place greater importance on ouering sustainable features in their buildings to not only cut running costs but also command higher rents. Tenants are showing they are willing to pay more for spaces which will help them to attract and retain top-tier staff.

Regionally, Singapore is leading the way, ranking first in Investment and second in Development1. Recovering from the previous years’ oversupply of commercial properties, the market has been an attractive option for overseas investors who have been first in line to invest as vacancy rates drop and positive sentiment returns. The activity has seen Singapore move steadily away from its 2017 low to the top position in PWC’s rankings for 20191.

Recruitment Lens:We expect the buoyancy of the commercial ofice sector to remain high throughout 2020. This is being driven by the core requirements for ofice space, investor consciousness and asset owners’ response to employee demand for lifestyle-driven spaces.Candidates, especially within Asset Management roles, will benefit from continued education and creative insight into this trend to challenge the traditional tenant mix and amenities.

“Commercial Office sector continues as the most popular asset class within Real Estate investment”

Retail Resilience Across APAC Despite Predictions

Despite the diversity of its market, the Retail sector in APAC has returned a steady performance for 2019. It’s no surprise that Hong Kong faced pressure on retail rents as political unrest and trade-war tensions continued throughout the second half of the year. Causeway Bay, however, held its position at the top of the world’s most expensive retail strips, increasing prices by 2.3% on the previous year2.

Demonstrating the resilience of the premier retail destinations, Causeway Bay (Hong Kong), Ginza (Tokyo), Pit Street Mall (Sydney) and Myeongdong (Seoul) were all positioned within the top 10 worldwide retail streets3. With demand from domestic and international retailers, major cities in China also continued to deliver a high number of new retail developments and held seven of the top 20 Asian retail destination3.

While performance may have been more positive than expected to close out 2019, developers are not resting on their laurels. With increasing competition amongst locations and pressure from e-commerce, how Retail developers, owners and occupiers are evolving is having an impact on the market. Across the region, retailers are becoming more adept at designing for and adapting to consumers’ preferences4. Flexible and co-retailing spaces, short-term leasing opportunities, non-retail revenue, and a focus on ‘experiences’ within developments is a defining direction for the sector moving forward.

Causeway Bay held its position at the top of the world’s most expensive retail strips despite local market tensions and disruptions in 2019

Recruitment Lens:There is a core difference between the classification of ‘Street Retail’ and ‘Mall Retail’ to the point where this is driving a divergence in the sector. We expect to see companies diversifying their Real Estate talent to blend their tactical approach, especially across leasing and operations professionals.

“Retailers are becoming more adept at designing for and adapting to consumers’ preferences”

Investment Alternatives Challenging Mainstream Markets

A number of significant deals across the Logistics & Industrials space in APAC have helped to highlight the surge in its demand. With investor appetite strong, these assets are being held tightly forcing those wanting to get into the market to become more skilled in finding and securing quality assets 5. With an undersupply in the region’s modern logistics ouer, investors are seeking out subsectors in the market such as cold storage or last-mile warehouses1.

Major market players have included global technology company Telstra International which announced several strategic partnerships with Chayora Holdings, Equinix and others to provide data centre colocation services across APAC6. Speculation also continues for Macquarie and its majority acquisition of Airtrunk, an Australian-based data centre services firm that is now valued at AU3 billion.

The powerhouse factor behind growth in the Industrials & Logistics space is e-commerce and associated third-party logistics (3PL) demand in APAC. This hasn’t yet been negatively auected by dips in market uncertainty. China,

for example, while facing ongoing implications from the trade issues with the USA, is still seeing strong demand  for modern logistics space. Further e-commerce growth in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, look to grow appetite across Southeast Asia7.

Recruitment Lens:As investors look to grow their portfolios within Industrials & Logistics, we are expecting demand across all levels of investors for candidates who can unlock value from other industry players. With institutional investors also demanding scale and geographic diversification within their industrial exposure, candidates with expertise moving into new markets and undertaking mergers and acquisitions (M&A) will be attractive to employers.

“With assets being tightly held, those wanting to get into the market are needing to become more skilled and creative in securing quality investments”

Opportunities for Candidates in 2020

The year ahead presents exciting opportunities across a broad range of professions and career paths in the sector. For a discussion about where your experience could take you in the future or to understand how to adapt to the latest hiring trends, please connect with our Real Estate leaders below.


  • Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2020). Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2020.
  • Retail News Asia. (2019). Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay still top of the world’s most expensive retail strips.
  • Cushman & Wakefied. (2019). Main Streets Across the World 2019.
  • Inside Retail Asia (2020). 2020 What’s in store for Asian Retail.
  • Lorenzzo, D. (2019). Asia Pacific to outperform other regions in 2020 for real estate investment. Thailand Business News.
  • Opiah, A. (2020). Triple Collaboration Sees Telstra Pair Separately With Equinix, Chayora, Sprint for Data Centre and IoT Ouering. Data Economy.
  • Jones Lang Lasalle. (2019). Logistics investing in Asia Pacific: not why, but how?
  • ANREV. (2020). ANREV/INREV/PREA Investment Intentions survey 2020 snapshot.

APAC Real Estate Leadership Team

Ben Watt

Managing Director –

Greater China



Sally Tremlett

Managing Director –




Chris Kiernan

Managing Director –



Level 15, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace

Central, Hong Kong


+852 3796 2621


708 Main St, 10th Floor

Houston, TX 77002


+1 832 532 2524


12 Marina View, #11-01

Asia Square Tower 2

Singapore 018961

+65 3165 4450 | EA 1859493


Level 28,161 Castlereagh St

Sydney, NSW 2000


+61 2 9159 0600