4月2日，中海商业受亚太房地产协会（APREA）参加国际网络研讨会，中海商业副总经理唐安琪女士代表中海商业，与包括ARA Asset、 Kailong group、 Asia Pacifc YARDI、China Orient Summit Capital等知名国际机构的资产管理行业领导者，共同探讨“Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on china property market”。研讨会共吸引来自中国、新加坡、香港、印度、澳大利亚、美国和全球其他地区的超300名专业人士收听，获得广泛且良好的行业效应。
随着SARS-CoV-2病毒在全球范围内的肆虐，全球经济正在迎接自全球金融危机以来最严重的衰退，针对宏观经济走势及对策分析问题，COOC中海商务认为目前的阶段类似延缓支出或需求节奏调整，崇邦集团CFO Chris Wu同样认可从投资前景的角度来看，疫情的爆发使买卖双方的预期将不匹配，可能需要几个月才能找到平衡。
除了写字楼领域焦点以外，亚腾资产管理公司中国区总裁Alvin Loo以及崇邦集团CFO Chris Wu先生同样分享了零售和物流领域在此次疫情中的消费故事。尽管零售业是受封锁影响最严重的行业之一，面对网上消费的渗透“冲顶”，在后疫情期及经济发展复苏中，零售和物流将会成为一个更加令人信服的组合，其趋势会得到进一步加强。
OVID-19 Disruption –
The Path Forward for China’s Property Market
5 Key Takeaways from APREA’s Webinar
1.Recovery to be protracted
As the SARS-CoV-2 infection beats a relentless march across the world, the global economy is bracing for the sharpest downturn since the Global Financial Crisis with some economists even conjecturing it could rival the Great Depression when the final impact is tallied. Hopes of a quick V-shaped recovery having all but evaporated in the past weeks and panelists on APREA’s latest webinar: COVID-19 Disruption – The Path Forward for China’s Property Market remain realistic. “I think it is going to be a long W shape,” said Chris Wu, Group CFO, Chongbang Group. The need to balance public health and safety will create a seesaw scenario even as the world claws back on output lost. In terms of the investment landscape, there will be mismatched expectations between buyers and sellers in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, which will likely take a few months to find equilibrium. Hei Ming Cheng, Founder and Chairman, Kailong Group believes that investment volumes will remain depressed for the first half of the year. Travel restrictions are also hampering final negotiations and disclosed that deals KaiLong have been working on have also dragged for longer than usual. He expects some extent of cap rate expansion as income turns uncertain. “While interest rates will remain low, credit spreads will also expand as banks attach a higher risk premium into loans,” he said.
2.China best placed for economic rebound
With Europe and the U.S. now battling a health and economic crisis, China, being first in line on the infection front, is emerging albeit tentatively from a two-month lockdown. Chen Lijian, Chairman of APREA’s China Chapter and Senior Executive President, China Orient Summit Capital, noted that although the economy is now operating at 70-80% capacity, demand remains weak. Angel Tang, Deputy General Manager, China Overseas Commercial Properties shared that across its own managed office assets, comprising 45 buildings in over 27 cities, the current rate of resumption is 80% with the proportion of employees returning at close to 65%. She further revealed that in a tenant survey, while the impact should not be underestimated, companies remain confident of long-term prospects. Hei Ming also believes that China will weather the crisis better than most of the major economies having gained control of the virus after more than a two-month battle, as its policies are more cohesive and have more room for monetary accommodation as compared to most development economies. However, the most important attribute is the country’s sizeable middle class whose spending power is a critical economic pillar. “If the right policies curb unemployment and increase infrastructure investment, returning confidence will boost domestic consumption and lift economic growth,” he said.
3.China's consumption story continues to resonate
In an apparent nod to China’s rising middle class, Alvin Loo, Head of China, ARA Asset Management, revealed that the current crisis has not changed the firm’s mid-to-long term view of the country’s fundamentals. “We believe rising consumption driven by a growing middle-income class of up to 400 million in China to be one of the enduring investment themes of this decade,” he emphasized. Despite retail being one of the hardest hit sectors due to the lockdowns, he reiterates that strategically located and well-managed malls remains relevant to China’s consumption story. With the switch towards online purchases, which will likely accelerate from the pandemic, also reinforces investments into logistics properties. Alvin revealed that this is precisely what ARA is banking on, with the firm’s acquisition of a majority stake in logistics real estate developer and fund manager, Logos Group, which boasts a A$8 billion worth of AUM. Chris readily agrees, citing that online penetration and usage by over-55 year-olds have “gone through the roof”. He further reveals that Chongbang’s venture with Hema, Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar supermarket that blends online and offline retail, which allows them to ride on its logistics capability to fulfil online orders from its LifeHubs retail concepts across China. Chris noted that retail and logistics is a compelling mix whose trend will only be further reinforced in the post-pandemic environment.
4.REITs' role remains important in the post-pandemic investment landscape
Lijian, in posing the question of the role of REITs, which for years have been eagerly anticipated in China, informed that the country’s National Development and Reform Commission with Securities Regulatory Commission have finished the approval process for pilot REITs, after which progress was halted by the outbreak. Alvin notes that investments will be an important tool to sustain and propel an economic recovery after the pandemic, and REITs are an effective vehicle at mobilizing capital sources to support the real estate sector. While liquidity will be abundant from the extraordinary stimulus efforts seen so far, other countries, particularly top city locations in Europe and the U.S. will also compete for funds in the post-pandemic environment. “The number of attractive and distressed yields emerging in these locations could prove compelling,” he noted. As it is likely that investors based there will have the upper hand, and stabilize income producing asset remains an attractive and dependable asset class for both Chinese institutional and high net worth investors which will help channel investors away from the more speculative residential market and riskier financial products. “It will be a win-win situation for all,” he said.
5. Creative space solutions crucial post pandemic
The infection has sped acceptance of agile workspaces and no doubt redefine ongoing trends in remote working as well as share workspaces. How will landlords cope in this post-pandemic environment? Angel states that, as their firm continues to render assistance to tenants along with the gradual resumption of work, occupiers will no doubt rethink the configurations between traditional and agile workspaces. “The proportion of different office spaces, from conventional to flexible, will vary between periods,” she said. As a landlord which has been making great efforts to build ecosystem in the office buildings, China Overseas Commercial has established a suite of workspace solutions including decentralized ones in over 27 cities. However, she does not think that office buildings will be replaced. “If anything, this pandemic could well reinforce how important offices are,” she emphasized. “It is only human nature to crave and rely on social interaction for decision-making efficiency.” However, she observed that operational capabilities will become a core competency, as tenants pay more attention to the technology and environment in office buildings that promotes the well-being for their employees. She highlights force majeure clauses as an important trend that will become evident in office leases after the infection. “The agreements may be more specific in the leasing contract after this pandemic,” she said.