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S’pore ranked top Reit market in Asia-Pacific

Survey cites support from regulators to the industry as advantageous

SINGAPORE has been rated as the best location in Asia-Pacific for overall real estate investment trust (Reit) potential – for a second year.

According to the second annual Asia-Pacific Reit Survey – undertaken for financial services provider Trust Company and law firm Allens Arthur Robinson – one of Singapore’s significant advantages is the support that the industry receives from regulators such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Exchange.

Senior property, finance and business experts across the Asia-Pacific are confident that the region’s Reit markets will remain strong, the survey said.

However, the findings also showed that low yields, poor regulatory processes, the effects of financial engineering and adverse taxation developments will continue to be the greatest threats to Reits in Asia-Pacific.

The experts believe that most of these threats will diminish significantly in the longer term.

The survey suggests that over the next one or two years, companies will increase the size of their existing Reits rather than launch new ones, but this trend will be reversed in the longer term of three to five years.

According to the survey’s findings, retail, commercial/office and industrial and retail property will continue to be the main focus for market growth, even though the retail, commercial and office markets have cooled in the last 12 months.

The hotel and hospital sectors are expected to heat up while industrial and infrastructure property is expected to experience slight growth. Residential property, however, will remain cold, the survey said.

The findings also showed that China, India and Vietnam are ranked as the top three hot property growth markets in Asia-Pacific for the next five years. Singapore, which ranked fourth, was the highest placed established Reit market. Good growth is also expected in Malaysia.

Vicki Allen, executive general manager of institutional services at Trust, acknowledged that since the survey was conducted, some caution has surfaced in global Reit markets. But she said that Asia-Pacific Reit markets have fared reasonably well compared with their North American and European counterparts.

Robert Clarke, a partner at Allens Arthur Robinson, suggested that regulatory flexibility is key to staying ahead. He cited Singapore as an example.

Source: Business Times 6 Mar 08


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