Real Estate Dorota Dyman & Associates blog: Foreign funds eye NZ commercial real estate
International investors with a total of US$2 trillion ($2.34 trillion) in funds have put New Zealand in their top-10 list of Asia-Pacific real estate investment targets.
A survey out this month from the Association of Non-Listed Real Estate Investors put New Zealand on its list for the first time, said Justin Kean, JLL New Zealand's head of research and capital markets.
New Zealand was ranked eighth.
"The association represents investors with a total portfolio of some US$2 trillion. If international investors allocated just 1 per cent of their assets to the New Zealand market, we would see $20 billion of capital head this way."
Kean said about $2 billion of commercial real estate going for $5 million-plus was sold throughout New Zealand.
That survey comes after Chapman Tripp said last week that more foreign buyers were likely to make bids for New Zealand assets this year with China at the forefront.
The law firm has released its view on trends and insights into New Zealand mergers and acquisitions and has picked foreign investment as an important trend in 2014.
Kean said international investors saw New Zealand as a key Asia-Pacific location.
"The economy in New Zealand has seen a good organic economic recovery kick in in the last 18 months. Positive pressure is warranting a firming of cap rates which is being driven by a weight of both local and now international capital.
"Institutional investors are back in a buying mode and this means that foreign wealth will start finding its way into the New Zealand property market," he said.
This year Japan ranks in first place as the most desirable place to buy property, with Australia second.
Previously, New Zealand was in the "other countries" category, Kean said.
"We don't have enough real estate to satisfy that demand. So the natural result should be there will be an upward pressure on prices.
"If a large asset were to come to the market, this would suggest it would be hotly contested among international buyers.
"If there was a big shopping mall or a commercial office block, local investors would have a lot of trouble keeping up with the pricing of foreigners.
"If you're in Switzerland and your cost of capital is 1.5 per cent, you can bid at a much higher price and still make the money you want but Precinct Properties or Kiwi Income Property Trust have to make a return commensurate with the rest of their portfolio," Kean said.
"We are aware of some trophy assets coming to the market. They're currently confidential but that will come along shortly. They're worth more than $100 million."