Investment cash returns to commercial property

Commercial property transactions rose across the majority of the globe with Brazil and China leading the way. With generally low interest rates and relatively high yields, investors have returned to commercial property. The net balance of surveyors reporting a rise in transactions in Brazil rose from 29% to 61% in the fourth quarter while the net balance in China edged up from 58% from 47%. By way of contrasts, more surveyors again reported a drop in activity in the US. Occupier demand has also been most visible across the emerging economies with lettings activity picking up most in Latin America, emerging Europe and most of Asia.

The UK property recovery was led by the London office market, with the amount of available space declining for the first time in two years. However, elsewhere in the UK and across 90% of the globe, the amount of available space continued to rise. There were some notable exceptions. Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Austria, Hong Kong and Ghana are all witnessing mild declines.

Surveyors are confident that the emerging economies, particularly in Latin America and Asia, will continue to lead the property recovery into the first quarter of 2010 but concerns persist over the outlook for some of the more developed real estate markets. Surveyors generally remain downbeat on the US, Japan, Germany, Italy and the UAE.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “The latest Global Commercial Property Survey demonstrates in the clearest possible terms that it is emerging real estate markets where sentiment has turned around most significantly. Crucially, the improvement in investor appetite is being accompanied by a firmer tone to the rental market. This is key to ensuring that the recovery proves sustainable.''

“The strength of the results contained in the survey for Latin America and Asia are a reflection of the unfolding economic recovery with many of the more developed markets likely to be hampered by the challenges resulting from the ballooning of public sector debt and need of the authorities to gradually exit from emergency monetary conditions.''