Global law firm Goodwin, together with professional services firm KPMG in Singapore and IQ-EQ Fund Services (“IQ-EQ”) today announced the launch of its latest report, "State of Play: Current Trends in APAC Private Real Estate Funds" (“the report”).
Drawing current insights from more than 40 senior professionals in the APAC private equity real estate industry, the report unveils several significant findings on the region's key trends and market dynamics.
“Like everyone in the industry the co-authors have seen the impact that global headwinds are having on the APAC real estate funds market. In the current climate both GPs and LPs are having to re-assess where and how they can find the best risk-adjusted returns and so we considered this to be a perfect time to canvas key industry players and take a snapshot of current thinking. The report findings are as wide-ranging as the APAC real estate market,” said Matthew Nortcliff, a partner at Goodwin and co-author of the report.
Capital-raising in APAC is under pressure
The majority of Limited Partners (LPs) and General Partners (GPs) surveyed concur that APAC was the most under-allocated-to region globally. This is attributed primarily to the resilience of developed markets in APAC. There was a perception amongst Asia-based real estate professionals that re-pricing of assets will occur sooner in Europe and North America than in APAC and that more capital would flow to those re-priced markets.
The report indicates that capital-raising for APAC real estate funds could be challenging at the moment. Whilst many LPs and GPs have still seen interest in APAC from selective pockets of European and North American investors, nearly half of them expect Asian investors to make up the largest capital base for their APAC mandates. Within that, Singaporean and Japanese investors were expected to comprise the lion’s share.
India is expected to be the main beneficiary of disruption in other growth markets
India, for many interviewees, had the ability to provide scalable emerging market exposure and there had been a clear uptick in appetite for Indian assets, particularly in the industrial sector.
Investor sentiment on Japan, Australia and Korea is positive, in pocketsAustralia, Japan and Korea remain attractive to investors, with different sectors proving popular in each market.
Japan was by far a preferred jurisdiction amongst both GPs and LPs. With its ultra-low interest rates, the Japanese market was, for many, the Asian market in which they can still underwrite an investment on a conventional basis. The yen’s current weakness also offered a foreign exchange upside for overseas investors. Japan was one of the few markets in which offices and, to a lesser degree, the retail sector attracted positive comments and is the only APAC market that can point to a well-developed multi-family residential (MFR) sector.
The interest in residential is just as strong in Australia, though the market is very different, with build to rent (BTR) being the most widely discussed strategy. The Australian market was also deemed the “most culturally suited” in APAC for living sub-sectors such as student accommodation and senior living.
The report’s participants conveyed overwhelmingly strong long-term sentiment for Korea as a whole. Foreign investors in Korea expect to focus very heavily on the industrial sectors, with healthcare and offices also proving attractive to some.
Allocation to Singapore or other Southeast Asian markets remain low
Aside from Australia, Japan and Korea, Singapore was the one other APAC jurisdiction in which almost all GPs and LPs expressed some degree of interest in investing, although pricing is currently a challenge for most buyers.
Respondents were mostly taking a wait-and-see approach to investing in Southeast Asian real estate. Emerging market deals tend to be smaller and bring with them country-specific risks that can be hard for institutional players to justify unless there are outsized returns, which are not evident at the moment.
Interest in private credit at all-time high while secondaries are just getting started
When discussing different sectors in the APAC real estate market, respondents showed an all- time high level of interest in private credit amid a backdrop of rising interest rates and conventional lenders becoming more conservative in their lending. Within APAC, private credit is likely to focus more on the Australian market, which is by far the most mature market in the region.
There has been a lot of global interest in fund secondary transactions in the year to date, but these do not appear to have gained the same level of traction in APAC real estate compared to other global markets. As and when there is more re-pricing in the region, we can expect secondary transaction volumes to increase.
ESG now a tier 1 consideration when investing in APAC
When considering whether to invest, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues are on the radar for all market participants in APAC real estate. Attempts to harmonize ESG standards and reporting across APAC markets have posed some challenges for GPs, who are having to accommodate an ever-increasing list of LPs’ ESG requirements.
About the report methodology
This report has been prepared solely on the basis of interviews with participants in the APAC private equity real estate industry. The interviews were conducted by the co-authors between 28 July 2023 and 31 August 2023. The views expressed in this report reflect the views of our interviewees and do not express the opinions of the co-authors or of Goodwin, IQ-EQ, or KPMG.
The intention behind the report is to capture and reflect market sentiment at a certain point in time. Consequently, unless otherwise stated, any factual-type statements contained in this report reflect either the specific or prevailing views of our interviewees and have not been subject to further research and verification.
Where we have included comments or views in quotes, these are quotations from interviewees and are included without individual attribution. Certain interviewees were happy to be identified as contributors to this report, while other participants chose to contribute anonymously. The quotes in this report were obtained from contributors who are listed as well from those who chose to remain anonymous.
In this report, “China” refers to mainland China, and “Hong Kong” refers to Hong Kong SAR, China.
We are in the business of building authentic, long-term relationships with our clients, who are some of the world’s most successful and innovative investors, entrepreneurs and disruptors at the convergence of and within the life sciences, private equity, real estate, technology and financial industries. Our immersive understanding of these industries — combined with our expertise across high-stakes litigation and dispute resolution, world-class regulatory compliance and advisory services, and complex transactions — sets us apart. To learn more about our global law firm, please visit www.goodwinlaw.com.
KPMG in Singapore is part of a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 143 countries and territories with more than 265,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.
IQ-EQ is a global, top-tier investor services group with an unrivalled offering to meet the administration, compliance and reporting needs of the investment sector worldwide. Our services are underpinned by a Group-wide commitment to ESG and best-in-class technology including a global data platform and innovative proprietary tools supported by in-house experts. Above all, what makes us different is our people. Operating as trusted partners to our clients, we deliver intelligent solutions through a combination of well-honed technical expertise and strong relationships based on deep understanding. We’re driven by our Group purpose, to power people and possibilities. We employ a global workforce of 5,000+ people across 25 jurisdictions, have assets under administration (AUA) exceeding $750 billion, and work with 11 of the world’s top 15 private equity firms. Also part of the IQ-EQ group of companies are First National Trustee Company (FNTC), The Private Office, ComplianceAsia and Lymon. To find out more about IQ-EQ visit www.iqeq.com.