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APAC hospitality investments in 2013 highest in 5 years

There had been a substantial weight of capital invested in the core markets withmainland China accounting for US$2.636 billion or 20.5% of the total investment volume,Singapore the second largest market at US$2.634 billion, followed byJapan at US$2.610 billion and Australia at US$2.271 billion.

HONG KONG – Cushman & Wakefield, Global Real Estate Consultancy, in their latest report on the hotel markets across 17 gateway cities and prime destinations in Asia and Australia, reported that hospitality investment market in theAsia Pacific reached a record high transaction volume of US$12.83 billion in 2013, the highest in the last 5 years and over 30% higher than 2012.

There had been a substantial weight of capital invested in the core markets withmainland China accounting for US$2.636 billion or 20.5% of the total investment volume,Singapore the second largest market at US$2.634 billion, followed byJapan at US$2.610 billion and Australia at US$2.271 billion. Hotel investments were also more widespread across the region in 2013, where emerging and non-core markets likeCambodia, Macau, Maldives saw some assets changing hands.

Akshay Kulkarni, Regional Director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Hospitality Services forSouth Asia and Southeast Asia said: “Hospitality investment volume in 2013 more than doubled since 2008 and can be attributed to the excess liquidity, the low borrowing costs and the region’s favourable tourism growth and outlook.”

The cities included in the report are Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bali, Seoul,Mumbai, National Capital Region (India), Bangkok, Shanghai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

In the first half of 2014, total investment volume of hospitality assets reachedUS$5.203 billion, which is 9.5% higher compared to the same period last year. While the core markets ofJapan, Singapore, mainland China and Australia are still the most traded ones and constitute about 68.8% of the investment volume, other emerging markets such as Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have experienced higher investment quantum compared to the same period last year. For 2014, Cushman & Wakefield expects the hospitality investment market to moderate, and likely to close atUS$9.0 to US$10.5 billion.

Table 1 : Asia Pacific Hospitality Investment Volume in US$ (million)

Source: RCA Analytics, Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality

In 1H 2014, some notable transactions include the 5-star Park Hyatt in Melbourne sold by the GIC Pte Ltd to Hong Kong-based Fu Wah Group for US$120.5 million (or US$502,000 / key), Hilton Hua Hin Hotel sold to Thai-listed Saha-Union PLC for US$98.9 million (or US$334,000 / key) and Sutera Harbour Resort at Kota Kinabalu grsold to SGX-listed GSH Corporation forUS$275.7 million (or US$288,000 / key).

Kulkarni added, “We expect the balance of 2014 to equal or come close last year’s level in terms of transactional activity.Japan has already seen significant investment volume and will undoubtedly improve further and lead the pack, due to strong corporate demand and greater investor optimism arising from Abe’s economic reforms. Lower hotel transaction volume is expected forSingapore this year compared to last year, at least in the organized institutional side. However with the change in norms on the shop houses those that have approved hotel licenses will see high guest demand.

Mainland China in the first half of this year has seen investments of over US$1.5 billion. This obviously shows significant confidence in the markets and their potential, and also indicative of the fact that assets may be trading at below par and there is an eventual upside. However given the current trading performances in the key Chinese markets and also the relative slowdown of the economy the forecast in terms of investments is that these volumes will taper.

Some of those that gain would be India as it will see a significant rise due to the change in approach to debt service and banking norms forcing asset restructuring companies to offload some of their stocks. This in addition with the positive way in terms of the political climate providesIndia with a significant opportunity to attract a significant share of the regional investments.”

“Thailand, Indonesia, and to some extent, Philippines, Sri Lanka could see more exciting times ahead with some major transactions to be closed. Emerging countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia have seen some renewed interest and could become viable investment destinations.”

There were a few hotel portfolio transactions in 1H 2014, especially in Japan. Anabuki Kosan acquired 9 three-star and budget Comfort Hotels for US$58.4 million from Taisei Yuraku Real Estate Company, while Hoshino REIT acquired 21 Chisun Inn hotels from Lone Star for US$136.9 million. India-based DLF Global Hospitality had sold its Aman resort chain of 27 luxury hotels to Adrian Zecha and Peak Hotels forUS$358 million.

Cushman & Wakefield studied the hotel investment transactions in the past 18 months, covering gateway cities inAsia Pacific. The most expensive hotel investment market in terms of value per key in US$ is Hong Kong. The Chinese territory saw the Mercer by Kosmopolitan transacted at US$1.36 million. Singapore is ranked second at US$1.24 million, having seen the sale of the 305-room Westin Marina Bay to Daisho Group at US$369 million last December. Third on the list isTokyo at US$846,000 arising from the Yaesu Fujiya Hotel which would be redeveloped into an office building.

Kulkarni added, “Hotel assets in Singapore and Hong Kong have high selling price per room due to the high earnings multiples and the potential for capital appreciation ahead. Buyer competition for prime institutional quality assets in these two cities remain intense, and there is a shortage of such assets for sale. ForSingapore market, it would be ideal to hold if your assets are of prime quality as there is some room for additional asset appreciation. In Hong Kong, smaller sized assets are highly sought after, and can be repositioned with higher upside in rates and value.”

Photo caption: Hilton Hua Hin Hotel.

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