CBRE: Hong Kong returns as a top property investment location

HONG Kong has returned to the top five Asia-Pacific investment destinations by property consultancy CBRE for the first time since 2020, thanks to an expected pandemic recovery and low pricing. 

The report on real estate investor intentions for 2023 showed the Asian financial hub came in at No 5 after Tokyo, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney among the most preferred cities for cross-border investments. 

“In the past few years, nobody wanted to buy Hong Kong,” Henry Chin, CBRE’s Asia-Pacific head of research, said in an earlier interview, citing social unrest and its strict Covid policy. 

The consultancy has seen more and more investors coming to Hong Kong, due to expectations that the city will recover from the pandemic and pricing that has declined enough to become attractive, according to Chin. 

The survey, conducted in November and December with 534 responses, was done prior to China lifting its major Covid restrictions. “Hong Kong’s recovery story will be a lot faster and stronger than what we think,” Chin said. 

The rise in ranking comes after Hong Kong finally ended its Covid Zero policy along with mainland China, which kept the city isolated from the rest of the world, battering the economy. The city’s economic growth for 2022 was estimated to have contracted by around 3%, according to a Bloomberg survey, and home sales last year slumped to the lowest since 2008. 

The CBRE report found that net buying intentions in the Asia-Pacific region are to fall to the weakest level since 2019, driven by concerns of a recession, central bank policy changes and mismatches in buyer and seller expectations. But 93% of institutional investors expect allocations for real estate to increase or remain stable. 

The top sectors attracting interest include industrial and logistics, offices and residential. Other alternative property types for investments include healthcare-related assets, data centres, cold storage and real estate debt, according to the report. — Bloomberg 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition