ECB Quantitative Easing Package Effect on APAC Property Market
|The European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday (January 22) unveiled a EUR 1.1 trillion quantitative easing package to stimulate the Eurozone economy for the next 12 months.
The decision removes much of the uncertainty around potential interest ratehikes and currency fluctuations in the Eurozone. However, the impact on monetary policy and currency volatility elsewhere in the world is unclear.
The move by the ECB and Japan to continue with quantitative easing will make it more difficult for the United States to buck the trend, meaning that a radical rate hike in the US is unlikely and the near-zero rate era is likely to continue for some time.
What does it mean for real estate?
The continued weakness of the Eurozone economy will result in slower and more cautious corporate real estate decision making by European occupiers in Asia Pacific in the short-term. However, in the medium to longer term, Asia Pacific will remain a priority for revenue growth, a trend that will result in an increase in these companies’ office requirements.
Sluggish import demand from Eurozone markets could result in over capacity among many Asia Pacific exporters. This would result in weaker demand for industrial facilities and a slowdown in foreign direct investment in emerging Asia. Markets at risk of oversupply will be particularly vulnerable.
Asian investors will continue to look at the Eurozone
Asian capital will continue to view real estate markets in continental Europe as attractive due to the wider yield gap; prolonged low interest rates; and favourable exchange rates. Their main focus will still be on the United Kingdom – predominantly London – but interest is also likely to spread to major cities in Germany and France. Investors with a stronger appetite for risk may consider higher yielding opportunities in markets such as Portugal and Italy.
However, the ECB announcement is likely to prompt more Asian investors to focus on North America, which has a clearer path to recovery and more robust government policies to support economic growth. Some groups will opt to stay within Asia Pacific, as the Australian dollar and Japanese yen continue to depreciate and both these markets remain hotspots for investors.
Increase in European funds looking at Asia Pacific likely
European funds are expected to turn more active in seeking investment opportunities outside the Eurozone in 2015. Many groups will look to the United States and Asia Pacific due to their better economic prospects. However, Greater China, which has not seen the Renminbi depreciate against the Euro, will start to look more expensive to European investors.