Nuveen Real Estate plans to expand its commercial real estate debt offerings to New Zealand - and into the wider Asia-Pacific market.

At a media briefing in Sydney on Monday, Martin Priestley, Nuveen’s head of debt, Asia-Pacific, said: “We expect to grow our (debt) business in Asia-Pacific, which is the fastest-growing region in the world.”

In time, he said, he expected the region to “even out” with Europe. However, the US would remain the dominant market, today representing 90% of Nuveen’s debt business.

“We are looking closely to New Zealand, which we see as an extension of the Australian market. Then we would look to the broader Asia-Pacific market as our client base grows into those markets.”

Priestley said the firm would look to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong or Singapore, but each of these markets had its challenges. Either they had low-interest rates, were overbanked or were highly regulated.

Nuveen launched its debt capabilities in Australia 18 months ago and had already received inquiries for loans totalling A$5bn (€3.1bn) from potential borrowers.

“So far, this year, we have received inquiries for A$2bn,” said Priestley.

“We anticipate our commercial real estate debt portfolio to reach the $1bn mark sometime before the end of 2020.”