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CBRE: Market headwinds to temper 2017 Asia-Pacific RE investments

The Asia-Pacific region remains an attractive real estate market, but investors will likely look for "creative" investment strategies to take advantage of the region's low interest environment, evolving demographics and conducive macroeconomic environment to hit target returns this year, according to the 2017 Asia Pacific Real Estate Market Outlook report released by CBRE.

CBRE said that in order to overcome the prevailing low yields and slow rental growth in the region, investors would enhance the asset value of existing properties by adding lifestyle amenities and services and leveraging technology to attract and retain tenants.

According to CBRE, there could be a pick-up in interest in properties outside of gateway cities, such as Hangzhou and Chengdu in China, and Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka in Japan, but investors would be wary of opportunities in areas with less developed infrastructure and transportation in emerging Asian markets.

Separately, student housing is emerging as an attractive asset class, while the region's aging population sustains the demand for senior housing, healthcare and medical centers, according to Henry Chin, head of research at CBRE Asia Pacific.

CBRE also said that investors would likely be more prudent towards expansion and opt to optimize their portfolios to improve operational efficiency instead. In the office sector, this means making office locations more cost efficient and enhancing employee satisfaction via better accessibility and improved workplace. To achieve portfolio optimization in the retail sector, growth may be focused on projects in core locations.

Meanwhile, CBRE sees consistent growth continuing for industrial and logistics properties this year, supported by demand from the growing e-commerce sector.