MIPIM: 'Wall of money' targeting EMEA drops, as US takes top spot

The amount of capital targeting commercial real estate in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) has fallen, according to research by Cushman & Wakefield.

The company’s ‘Great Wall of Money’ report, released at MIPIM in Cannes today, tracks the amount of newly raised capital targeting real estate at global level.

The advisory firm said capital available for the region shrunk 9% in US dollar terms to $130bn (€122bn). The Americas grew 2% to $173bn and Asia posted a marginal increase to $132bn.

Cushman & Wakefield said that for the first time, more equity (excluding leverage) is available across the Americas ($79bn) than EMEA ($72bn).

A wall of capital targeting the US has been building, it said, as institutional investors increase allocations to the “highest levels in history”, and offshore investors “swarm to park money in high-quality US assets”.

The fall in available equity across EMEA was said to be largely a reflection of a strong dollar. With close to 80% of funds targeting Europe reporting in either euros or pounds, currency is a key component.

The total global wall of money, which stands at $435bn, experienced its the first drop since 2011 – a small decline on last year’s peak of $443bn. But Cushman & Wakefield said it was still the second-highest since 2009.

Elisabeth Troni, head of EMEA research and insight at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “With the great wall of money targeting real estate at near record levels, investors need to remain focused but agile.

“We expect 2017 to be marked by ongoing competition to place capital and source attractive opportunities.”

While core real estate strategies remain highly attractive, Troni said, “demand tends to outstrip supply in many key markets, pushing down yields and challenging investors”.

She said: “Unable to find enough existing core assets, investors are engaging in build-to-core strategies targeting development or redevelopment projects that create core assets in top markets.”

Troni said Cushman & Wakefield expects new sources of capital to be unlocked around the world, especially from China, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Africa.

The US is expected to be the biggest investment target of the wall of capital, with China coming in at second and the UK third-placed.

Cushman & Wakefield expects relatively less capital to target the UK as some investors adopt a wait-and-see approach amid political and economic uncertainty.

The critical issue at MIPIM this year will be how the UK’s exit from the European Union and changing world of politics will impact on the real estate industry.

Investors are waiting on the side lines for more product to come to market in the event of pricing weakness, Cushman & Wakefield said.

Germany also continues to see strong levels of demand from investors attracted to its strong economic performance and relative ‘safe haven’ status. Cushman & Wakefield said the country could benefit from some capital being diverted away from the UK.

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