What Asian Investors Are Seeking
Cap rate isn't as important as the quality of product, when it comes to Asian investors, according to RE/MAX regional EVP Elton Ash.
Elton just got back from NYC, where he joined other company executives to ring the opening bell initial public offering in October (RMAX is the symbol--which could turn into a comedy bit when you ask for the "max" closing rate of "Max"). On the commercial front, in the western region, RE/MAX has over 240 brokers and did $890M in transactions in 2012. The experience in NYC was interesting: "They served us breakfast on the trading floor," Elton tells us (right, with RE/MAX VP Larry Oberly)
No offense, but we're shocked that tiny hot air balloon is holding them all up. The firm's data points to a tight supply in commercial real estate in Vancouver and most other markets across Canada that was limiting sales activity for the first half of the year. An interesting and uniquely Vancouver angle is the level of investment by the Asian community in the local market. Elton says while the residential market saw a slowdown of sales activity and prices as a result of the Chinese market pulling back (investments plateaued because the Chinese were the only ones doing the buying, thus pushing market values), commercial real estate investment has been marked more by a reluctance among the Asian community to sell.
One RE/MAX commercial broker told Elton he took an interested buyer to a Hong Kong owner of a commercial property he had purchased back in the 1980s, offering the owner "a lot of money," but the owner told him selling would be "my grandson's decision." Another appeal of the market to the Asian community adds Elton is the finite boundaries of the surrounding mountains and sea (there is nowhere else the Vancouver market can grow) and cultural affinity. Snapped is the 44k SF Newton Commerce Centre in Surrey, which RE/MAX sold earlier this year for $7M.