Chinese investment is arguably the greatest opportunity for our industry in over 30 years

December brings out the opportunity for property experts to delve into their Christmas stockings and bring out a crystal ball to predict what some of the key trends for the pending 12 months may be.

Whilst uncertainty remains over weather commercial tenant demand will bounce back or if shoppers will start buying anything other than groceries again, one thing that is certain is that the continued emergence of Asian capital into all commercial property markets across our major capital cities.

Whilst the latest wave (post 2010) of Asian investment is being compared to the highs of the Japanese assault on Australian property in the early 1990's when  investigate in more detail it is so different for so many reasons and on so many different levels.

Malaysian and Singaporean investment dominated 2013 with a wide range of transactions being completed in both Melbourne and Sydney, deals varied from development sites to commercial office investments but the flow was strong and is expected to remain this way in 2014.

Whilst it is widely accepted that the stimulant for investors from these countries to target Australia has been based on their own political instability, the fall in the value of the Australian dollar and cooling measures that have been instilled on developers in their home countries, the Chinese investors and developers seem to be driven by many different reasons to their nearby counterparts from South East Asia.

Chinese investments into the Australian property market arguably presents our industry with the greatest opportunity for job and industry growth than any other single structural buyer shift spanning back more than 30 years.

Next year will see the continued dominance of Chinese investors wanting to acquire both development and passive opportunities as the relationship between Australian property and Chinese players grows with additional education across a wider range of markets, and more established infrastructure to assist the Chinese in completing transactions locally. Good news stories are being sent back to China off the back of sustained strong performance for Chinese developers, as they continue to deliver on many projects that they have been working on for some time.

As a property industry, we must better equip ourselves to benefit from the structural change that is occurring on so many levels. We must work hard and with purpose to ensure that we do not jeopardize in any way the intent and established level of comfort to date that Chinese investors have towards Australian property.  We must remain competitive on all levels from the federal government to local council and do what we can to encourage, foster and assist in the development of Chinese investment into our markets.

Mark Wizel is director of CBRE Melbourne city sales and Victorian retail investment properties

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