Asian investment in Melbourne’s commercial property market increased 30% in the past fiscal year, according to real estate firm CBRE.

During the 2019 fiscal year, the firm recorded $1.14bn worth of sales to Asian investors—up from $880m in the previous year.

Of the 42 properties sold in the last 12 months, 36 were purchased by Asian buyers, with half of those from China, 11 from Singapore, and seven from Hong Kong.

Since June, 80% of CBRE’s investment sales have involved Asia-based investors.

The investments came following a surge in offshore Asian inquiry, according to Lewis Tong, CBRE’s national director of Asian services.

“While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for the increase in sales to this buyer pool, strong anecdotal evidence suggests the recent result of our federal election and political instability in Hong Kong have been important, with the latter perhaps further entrenching Melbourne as being a safe-haven choice,” Tong said.

Investment dollars looking for a home out of China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau were behind the deals, according to CBRE director Mark Wizel.

“What we are seeing now could well be the start of a significant shift, the catalyst being a combination of the ongoing turmoil around global trade and south-east Asian geopolitical issues, and the attendant uncertainty, which has been a massive issue for investors across all asset classes globally,” Wizel said.

Other factors motivating Asian investors to put their money into Australian commercial real estate are the falling value of the Australian dollar, declining residential clearance rates, and education and family links.

The significant growth in private wealth across south-east Asia, particularly in China and India, also likely influenced the greater percentage of Asian purchases.