The effects of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic were of course the main factor impacting the Asia Pacific property market in the first quarter. Signs of the outbreak weighing on sentiment were seen in markets across the region, however robust government stimulus packages and policies are cushioning impacts, and opportunities are emerging across many sectors in the region. In Hong Kong the virus exerted further downward pressure after a prolonged period of political and economic uncertainty, keeping major players on the sidelines. Similarly in Singapore uncertainty has begun to limit activity in both the residential and commercial sectors. Private equity inflows into India’s real estate market have slowed to a trickle and investments in dynamic emerging markets like Myanmar have been put on hold.
While the extent of COVID-19’s effects on Asia Pacific property markets is still unclear, there is already evidence of continued resilience supported by solid economic fundamentals. In China, where business activity is gradually returning to normal, policymakers have introduced a raft of support measures and development plans that should provide a boost to key cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Vietnam should continue to benefit as manufacturers seek distributed alternatives across South East Asia, and Australia from a concerted government measures to aid the economy. Though near-term volatility is a given, the region’s overall growth prospects remain positive, assuming the outbreak is contained in the first half of 2020, and the current downturn is likely to produce compelling opportunities for discerning investors.