Global real estate transactions are expected to reach a new record this year, with Cushman & Wakefield predicting a 4% rise on last year to $1.34trn (€1.21trn).
The company’s Atlas Outlook 2016 report, which reviews international investment patterns and anticipates market performance for the year ahead, shows global property trading activity fell last year for the first time in six years, albeit edging down just 2% to $1.29trn.
The finding reflected the strength of the US dollar as well as a pullback in Asia, notably for development land. Excluding land, global volumes rose 8%, with particularly strong increases for multi-family residential and hospitality, followed by logistics.
Foreign exchange movements also had a significant impact, attracting investors to the US while diluting volume growth measured in other currencies. For example, while global volumes fell 2% in US dollar terms, in euros there was a gain of 17%. This distortion was even more apparent in EMEA with volumes flat in dollar terms but 23% up in euros.
Despite the decline in 2015, Cushman & Wakefield forecasts trading volumes will reach new heights in 2016.
Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield’s global capital markets and investor services business, said: “Geopolitical issues, length of the recovery cycle, volatility and increased uncertainty are leading to differing views with respect to asset allocation and how best to invest.
“This is benefiting real estate as allocations to the sector increase, boosting demand for assets. In this economic environment there is also an increasing number of willing sellers aiming to crystallise returns. We therefore forecast a 4% increase in trading this year, which could easily be bettered if current global volatility levels stabilise or decline.”
He said performance was “yet to peak”, with “yields not yet at their floor and a slow improvement in occupational demand pushing rents slowly ahead.”
In a separate report, also launched at MIPIM in Cannes, Colliers International said the property bull market was “rumbling on in search of a second peak”.
Colliers International said the market was “walking a tightrope at a height in terms of pricing, but sentiment appearing to be neither rising nor falling in any convincing trends”.
Walter Boettcher, chief economist at Colliers International, said: “There looks to be considerable life left in this bull. Many of the property market drivers that helped to achieve record volumes and pricing in the UK and Europe remain unchanged and will go some way to keep property on the radar of international investors through 2016 and beyond.”
CBRE Global Investors said it expected to undertake €8.3bn in transactions in Europe this year, targeting €5.3bn of acquisitions and looking to sell €3bn of assets.
Sophie van Oosterom, CIO for EMEA at CBRE Global Investors, said: “We are closely watching market events globally and currently still see good levels of liquidity; the continued gap with bond yields means the case for property remains attractive.”