Commercial property remains an attractive investment, underpinned by solid macro-economic fundamentals.
Lonsec Research believes that investments in traditional core sectors (retail, office and industrial property) will continue to provide stable returns. In particular, properties leased to high-quality tenants on long-term leases provide investors with a stable income stream and strong defensive characteristics. Yields (5%-8%) are attractive compared with bonds and cash.
In particular, the CBD office markets in Melbourne and Sydney are expected to perform well over the medium term, due to strong white-collar employment growth and their relatively small exposure to the resource sector slowdown. While Melbourne has a limited supply of new office buildings in the near term, Sydney’s higher supply of prime office buildings is being tempered by the withdrawal of secondary stock, due to the metro rail infrastructure project and conversions to residential and hotel use.
Lonsec Research believes more niche sectors, such as healthcare and automotive, are attractive due to their relatively strong income profiles, lower correlation with traditional core sectors and quality tenants.
ASX-listed Australian real estate investment trusts (A-REITs) provide investors with a direct exposure to high-quality portfolios in specific sectors (core or niche) or a mix. Lower-risk A-REITs are those without development or funds management activities. Managed A-REITs, which include UBS Property Securities and Zurich Investments Australian Property Securities, can give a more diversified exposure.
Unlisted direct property syndicates and funds, which include, for example, Charter Hall Direct Automotive Trust No. 2 and Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust, generally have fewer assets and the liquidity of an investment is often limited, or not available, until the end of a set term.
Simon Baird is an investment analyst for Lonsec Research
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