Healthier environment drives sector for cold storage, offices, shopping centers
As China's response to COVID-19 enters a new phase and market confidence recovers, the nascent economic recovery is expected to boost demand for all types of commercial properties in China, industry experts said.
"Consensus has been reached that China's economic growth is a priority for the world in 2023, and capital markets are making preparations for entering the China market via many channels," said Lu Qiang, executive director for capital markets of East China with Cushman &Wakefield, a global real estate services firm.
"Given the relaxation of China's COVID-19 control measures, the general economy is expected to recover in 2023. In terms of the real estate market, economic recovery is expected to boost leasing and investment demand across all property types as market confidence returns," explained Shaun Brodie, senior director and head of occupier research of China at Cushman &Wakefield.
Additionally, emphasis will be further placed on high quality, smart and sustainable real estate development across cities in China, Brodie said.
"These are positive catalysts for the recovery and long-term development of commercial properties such as offices, shopping malls and industrial properties such as business parks and logistic facilities," said Pang Ming, chief economist with global real estate consultant JLL China.
Such an outlook bucks the trend for the Asia-Pacific region of a fall between 5 and 10 percent in real estate investment volume in 2023, according to research from JLL.
The sliding forecast is based on tumultuous economic and financing conditions weighing on sentiment, and the region witnessed a year-on-year decline of 25 percent in 2022, according to JLL.
In addition, with the implementation of real estate investment trusts and a healthier and more mature investment environment, 2023 may see more transactions in logistics and multifamily assets in China, the JLL report added.
According to Cushman &Wakefield, commercial real estate investment in office assets is expected to remain strong, which is driven by end-user buyers. Industrial and logistics assets will likely remain attractive and there will be growing interest from commercial property investors in the alternative sectors of life sciences, multifamily and cold storage logistics warehousing.
In the office sector, net absorption of offices is expected to remain positive in first-tier cities this year, which is partially driven by upcoming supply of new projects.
Along with the expected consumption confidence rebound in 2023, community shopping centers in suburban areas in China will see greater interest, thanks to the preference trend of shopping in local neighborhoods. According to Cushman &Wakefield's calculation, in the upcoming three years, up to 32 percent of new supply in 16 major Chinese cities will be community shopping centers.
In the meantime, logistics warehousing is expected to continue to benefit from continued market growth this year. More quality cold storage warehouses will need to be built and put into operation in China in 2023. Brodie attributed the increase to consumer spending power, changes in consumption habits and greater need for storing perishable materials.