Offshore private investors, many from Asia, have been snapping up office assets in Australia at a faster pace over the past year. Many are looking for strong yields in a country they view as a relatively safe haven, according to Colliers International.

The volume of office stock purchased by offshore private entities surged 59% to $2.09bn in fiscal 2017, according to Colliers International’s latest capital markets review. Of this, $1.05bn of office investment came from mainland China. Meanwhile, investment from Hong Kong and Singapore surged to $906m in 2017, from just $73m a year earlier.

The wave of investments is due to the search for yields and the growing perception internationally that Australian offices are a “safe haven” investment, according to Anneke Thompson, national director of research at Colliers International.

“The improving leasing markets, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, are also helping drive investor confidence in the outlook for capital appreciation of core office assets,” Thompson said.

Local investors have also been active buyers of office assets, spending a total of $1.9bn in the most extensive purchasing volume since 2008.

Overall, the Colliers International report found that investment across office, retail, hotel, and industrial assets was $28.99bn during the year, of which 28% or $8.19bn, came from foreign buyers. Approximately $12.51bn went to New South Wales and $8.33bn went to Victoria.

Robust demand and additional investment in infrastructure are creating opportunities for local developers, according to John Marasco, managing director of investment services and capital markets at Colliers International.

“These development hot spots in Sydney and Melbourne will cement these cities’ reputations as globally competitive cities for both capital and tenants,” he said.

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