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The meteoric rise of flexible space in Asia Pacific

The rise of flexible space in Asia Pacific has been meteoric. JLL research indicates major operators grew their footprint at an annualized rate of 35% over the 2014-2017 period and that pace of growth has carried over into 2018 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Flexible space stock*Source: JLL Research

A number of factors have driven the growth of this industry, and the co-working segment in particular, including the flexible terms offered to members, the plug and play ease of setting up, the sense of community and ready access to social and professional networks.

Initially co-working appealed to startups who found it more affordable than opening a traditional office.

To date the most popular flexible space model has been rent arbitrage.

But increasingly large corporates have started including co-working in their real estate strategy. And to accommodate corporates, operators have increased the size of their centres – our latest resea…

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Asian real estate and US interest rates

Economic conditions in the US continue along a path of steady improvement, with the latest GDP growth rate of 4.1% (annualized), signifying the strongest rate of growth in four years.

Robust economic growth teamed with strong employment data and upward pressure on inflation suggest the likelihood of further rate hikes over the course of the year.

US interest rate futures indicate traders are pricing in a 94% probability of a rate hike in September to 2.00%-2.25%, with a further 68% probability of an additional hike in December to 2.25%-2.50%.

Emerging markets currencies are becoming more volatile

Continued upward movements of US interest rates are starting to impact Asian real estate markets in a number of ways. With monetary policy positions in the Asia Pacific region sitting across a wide spectrum, the impact has been quite market specific.

Firstly, some of the emerging markets (EMs) are experiencing more volatility a…

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Self-storage industry in Asia on the rise

The self-storage industry in Asia is evolving as the notion of storing personal belongings outside the home catches on.

Outside of Japan and Australia, Hong Kong remains the most established Asian market with an estimated 418 facilities, a number that compares closely to China’s total facilities.

However, there is potential for further market growth.

Per capita stock of self-storage facilities in eight logistics markets in Asia (Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand) currently averages less than 0.01 sqm, significantly below the 0.1-0.2 sqm in the U.K. and Australia, and one sqm per capita in the U.S.

Self-storage operators have a potentially very viable product

The average occupancy rate in more established Asian markets as well as the U.S. stood above 80% during 2018, although China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia saw slightly lower levels.

Moreover, a good customer mix (on aver…

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