Heading for a New High in Real Estate Activity

6 September 2019

With one month remaining in the 3rd quarter, CMA’s tracking of transactions in ReSourceData shows real estate transactions heading for a new high for the quarter. Strong inflows of capital from offshore groups, directly or indirectly through local managers has been the key contributor to the increase in activity. Australia’s lower dollar, lower bond yields and as well as instability in other markets continue to favour Australia as an investment destination for yield hungry investors. In just 2 months, we have recorded $11.4bn of transactions across Office, Retail, Industrial and Development sectors. If September trades near to last year’s results, the activity across the 3rd Quarter 2019 will reach almost $14bn, well in excess of previous quarters results. The Office market has been exceptionally strong over the past 2 months following several significant deals including a share of Towers 1 and 2 Barangaroo Towers at $1.0bn by GIC, the Telstra portfolio at $700m bu Charter Hall, 201 Elizabeth Street at $630m by Charter Hall and Abacus, 400 George Street Brisbane at $525m by Cromwell, and 285 George Street for $450m by AMP Capital. Despite the weight of capital, the weighted average cap rate for the office market has softened 20bps to 5.5% so far this quarter. Industrial transactions so far this quarter have exceeded last quarters full result with 54 transactions worth over $1.5bn recorded in July and August, the highest level so far since mid 2017. Interest in the sector continue to be driven by the investors seeking to gain exposure to the booming logistics and e-commence markets. The weighted average cap rate for industrial transactions has sharpened 20bps to 6.0%. Retail transactions have continued to show reasonable results despite the headwinds in the sector. Following 2 successive quarters of lower transaction volumes, we have seen $1.7bn of retail transactions across July and August, with the weighted average cap rate of 5.9%, 20bps softer than last quarter.