Summit News

LaSalle has $3 billion to invest in Asia property

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - LaSalle Investment Management said on Monday it is ready to resume investing in Asian property after nine months on the sidelines and that it has $3 billion available for investments.

The U.S. real estate investment firm, which has $8.7 billion in Asian assets, will initially focus on Japan and Australia, Chief Investment Officer for Asia Pacific Ian Mackie told the Reuters Real Estate Summit in Singapore.

“The process of debt restructuring and market resetting and capital and economic stabilization seems to be happening fastest in those countries,” said Mackie.

“Japan has had a price correction that has been very significant (and) people forget that Japan is still the second biggest economy in the world.”

The firm is, however, generally cautious about prospects for a broad recovery in Asian real estate, noting the property sector tends to lag overall economic developments.

Kenneth Tsang, Asia-Pacific head of research and strategy at LaSalle, which is part of Jones Lang LaSalle JLL.N, said the spike in apartment sales in China, Hong Kong and Singapore since February may not be sustainable as it was driven by pent-up demand and low mortgage rates.

“Current economic fundamentals do not fully support such recent developments. There is a risk that this is a bear market rally and the situation could reverse when such liquidity leave the cities or country, or there is new shock to the economies.”

Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe