With the year almost at an end, it’s that time when we all stop to reflect on what has passed, before we move on into the future. This most certainly applies to the development and property industry, where we take the time to reflect on the market and where it may be heading in 2017.
Experts from Colliers International in Brisbane and the Gold Coast have take the time to provide commentary on the South East Queensland capital market and metro markets to review the year-that-was and to provide a forecast for the coming new year.
By Tom Barr, National Director of Capital Markets
In 2016 we have seen an increasing buy-side capital demand, particularly from offshore capital, fuelled largely by the substantial yield arbitrage available between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Domestic asset managers have been increasingly active in the market representing offshore capital mandates, as the listed A-REIT’s have found it difficult to compete due to their required hurdle rates of return.
In 2016, our team has received over 85 per cent of bids from offshore parties for the sale campaigns of 41 George Street and Green Square, with the origin of offshore capital on these campaigns emanating from Singapore, USA, Korea and Germany.
Only three major office investments have traded thus far in the core CBD in 2016. The lack of on market core CBD office opportunities has seen investors turn their attention to quality large scale assets outside the traditional CBD grid.
We have seen that with the sales of 100 Skyring Terrace Newstead (50% interest), ATO Upper Mount Gravatt, and the pending sale of Green Square Fortitude Valley.
Record high vacancy rates in Brisbane have resulted in a two-tiered leasing and capital market, as tenants and buyers continue to be focused on the prime-grade end of the market. However with forecasts showing an improving leasing market over the next couple of years, we anticipate an increasing number of buyers willing to go up the risk curve and make counter cyclical plays in the secondary-grade CBD market. We have seen this beginning to emerge, with the transactions of 333 Adelaide Street and 444 Queen Street (66% interest) in 2016.
Given the backdrop of limited supply and unprecedented buy-side capital demand, in 2017 we anticipate market yields will continue to tighten and are expected to breach 5.5 per cent in the core CBD market. Buy-side capital demand will continue to be dominated by offshore groups
We anticipate an increase in the number of owners wanting to capitalise on the unprecedented strength of buy-side capital demand from offshore, and divest out of their investments. The demand from offshore groups will strengthen further in 2017.
Given the heightened geo-political and macro-economic situation globally, and a surprising outcome in the US presidential election, we foresee an increasing number of transactions will be driven by a motivation to repatriate offshore capital back to select origins.
We have already seen this begin to emerge with a number of transactions being driven by repatriation of Malaysian capital.
By Hunter Higgins, Director of Investment Services
In the Brisbane metro market there has been a noticeable change in the demand shift from residential development sites to quality investment stock. With this change in direction, we have also experienced a significant lift in student accommodation and aged care facility developments.
Developers are focusing on investment grade stock with value add potential, and investors are very active in the market due to low interest rates and volatile stock market.
Distinct lack of quality stock has created competitive tension between prospective purchasers, which has ultimately reflected in sharper yields and increased end sale prices. We have also had a significant increase in auction success with 87.5% of properties transacted via auction.
In 2017 we are likely to see a noticeable change in site values due to supply, and the yields for quality stock will continue to remain robust. We are already experiencing significant inbound capital from offshore, investors are now starting to focus on Queensland, due to excessive yields in Sydney and Melbourne.
Demand will remain strong for the CBD and immediate fringe quality blue chip and premium assets such as fast food, service stations, neighbourhood retail and shopping centres. Any value add opportunities with quality national and multinational tenants are favoured.
In Brisbane we are also seeing Asian buyers channeling capital into quality assets. According to CityScope, 43 out of the 137 strata-titled ground floor retail units in the Brisbane City are under Asian ownership.