Keen to invest in Asian real estate, consider Tokyo

TOKYO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Tokyo takes the top spot for next year’s real estate investment prospects among big Asian cities, with many foreign investors seeking opportunities in Japan’s beleagured property market, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Tokyo moved up to the first place after being rated third in the past two years, while Shanghai dropped to the fifth from last year’s top slot, the survey conducted by U.S. research institute Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers showed.

The survey, based on 180 respondents ranging from global investors, property developers and brokers, was conducted between the middle of August to October.

Ho Chi Minh City was ranked the best market for office properties, followed by Tokyo, Mumbai, Shanghai and Bangalore.

Vietnam’s former capital city was also rated on top for retail and apartment residential property, the study showed.

The strongest “buy” and “hold” recommendations for Tokyo were in the office property sector, where 46 percent of respondents placed “buy” and 43 percent gave “hold” ratings, said the survey for hundreds of investors, developers and lenders.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ partner Raymond Kahn said in a statement foreign investors remain interested in Tokyo even under the current weak property market conditions.

While some investors are finding opportunities, however, the number of transactions has fallen significantly and there is still some disconnect between buyers and sellers, Kahn wrote.

As for Tokyo’s residential property sector, 28 percent of respondents placed “sell” with 39 percent rating “hold”, the survey showed.

Offices took top ranking for both investment and development, among property sectors most promising in the Asia Pacific region, the survey showed.

A Reuters poll of Asia property market last month showed Tokyo’s top-notch grade A office rents and capital values are seen slipping by up to 5 percent by the end of 2009, but better placed to weather the regional downturn expected to be led by Hong Kong and Singapore. [ID:nHKG304666] (Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Anshuman Daga)