Yields are likely to compress further with 52 percent of 600 respondents to the firm’s Global Investor Outlook (GIO) for 2016 survey saying they would move more money into real estate next year. Combined with relatively low levels of debt - compared with the previous market peaks - this flood of capital would further cement a long-term climate of stability for global real estate returns. 

The GIO for 2016 found that despite a reduced appetite for risk, debt would play a greater role in the market next year as investors seek to boost cash-on-cash returns.

Key takeaways from this report include:

  • Real estate continues to appeal. Sentiment toward real estate remains positive, with global transactions set to exceed 2014 levels by year end and nearing pre-financial crisis levels. More than half of the respondents with multi-asset portfolios also said that they would increase their real estate allocations in the next 12 months.
  • Liquid markets still preferred. While the ‘search for yield’ has pushed some investors up the risk curve toward secondary assets and more peripheral markets, the most liquid markets (U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia and Japan) and global gateway cities (London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Sydney) remain the primary target for global cross-border investors over the next 12 months. In entering peripheral, higher-yielding markets, liquidity is being seen as an obstacle.
  • Hot pricing. 2016 will see a greater emphasis on secure income and asset management to drive performance.For some investors, it’s getting harder to achieve return expectations, particularly in ‘overcrowded’ core markets, which are seen as expensive and fully priced by many. Some fund managers cite a growing misalignment between their client return expectations and what the market offers.
  • Risk appetite moderates. International investors remain confident, but recent economic volatility and geopolitical events have made them more cautious. In particular, there is apprehension that the economic environment could change at any time. China and U.S. interest rates are just two issues resonating with investors.
  • Local partnering. Colliers’ survey results show that more global investors will partner with local expertise and acquire platforms as a means of placing substantial amounts of capital with confidence.
  • Return of debt. More investors will use debt to finance acquisitions, suggesting that the equity phase of the cycle is giving way to a debt phase. This is particularly true of Continental Europe, where interest rates are likely to stay low for longer and further QE rounds from the ECB are expected.

For more details, the full Colliers International Global Investor Outlook for 2016 is available for download at http://GIO.colliers.com.