As we enter 2013 the general mood of investors is more risk-averse than it once was. A year ago, investors were more optimistic about the European economy and not so preoccupied with the American fiscal cliff. Yet, despite this mood swing, Colliers backs this sentiment expecting positive news to take place in the coming year. 

For the commercial property sector, beneficiaries of the current environment will include office properties in global safe-haven cities such as London and New York and industrial properties in global transportation centers that have enacted infrastructure investments, such as U.S East Coast ports including Baltimore, Charleston and Miami, which have invested the capital to prepare for the widening of the Panama Canal.

Colliers’ key Global predictions for 2013 include: 

U.S. GDP Growth Will Stumble, then Recover

2013 will be the third consecutive year of 2-2.5 per cent GDP growth. The majority of growth will occur in the second half of the year when the fiscal cliff threat and ILA East Coast port strike are in our rear-view mirrors. 

Labor Disputes Will Cause Trade Disruptions

Disagreement between management and labor, for a variety of causes, will affect economic growth in the coming year. Across the globe there are a number of issues in ports, the most high profile of which can be seen in the US, China and the Panama Canal. Europe can also expect labor flare ups in struggling Spain and Greece. In France, new austerity measures could also spark public sector strikes.

India’s GDP Will Beat Forecaster Expectations

India’s GDP growth will reach 6.5 per cent in 2013. Past growth forecasts have suffered from downward revision owing to the lack of implemented reform measures expected from the current government. However, the Indian government has recently displayed a keen resolve to introduce numerous fiscal and economic measures. India’s central bank is expected to slash bank rates in Q1 2013, which will further foster growth. 

China Will See Rising Demand for Warehouse Distribution Space

Relatively little land in China has been designated for development into warehouse property. This constrained new supply, combined with several demand side factors, primarily a growth in China’s logistics market, will make Chinese warehouses a star performer in 2013. 

Mexican Economic Growth Will Outpace U.S. and Canada

Mexico has seen three years of continuous growth and we expect this emerging market to beat its northern neighbours in terms of percentage of GDP growth in 2013. Mexico’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 3 per cent, with economic stability through President Enrique Pena Nieto’s transition into power. 

In EMEA specifically, Colliers has uncovered several key findings including: 

European Bifurcation: Euro Area will see a further North/South Split

Northern countries in the eurozone will continue to see stronger economic growth than their southern and peripheral counterparts, which will remain weak with local recessions. The eurozone as a whole will post marginal 0.25% GDP growth in 2013, with business investment and occupier demand gaining traction in the second half of the year. 

EMEA Property Transactions will Grow by up to 10%

We expect transaction velocity to struggle in early 2013, but again momentum through a modest economic recovery in the second half of the year. New lending sources such as insurance companies and mezzanine funds will continue to develop and partly ease the challenging lending environment. The year will end with transaction volume as much as 10% greater than in 2012. 

European Elections will not Threaten the Eurozone

While upcoming elections in Germany and Italy will prolong uncertainty and potentially create volatility in investment markets, they do not pose a true threat. Germany’s support of the eurozone will continue post-election. The risk that Italy’s April elections will fail to produce a government willing to continue on the reform path is also low. Mario Monti has brought stability and confidence back to Italy and it is unlikely that Berlusconi will return to power. We expect a center-left government in Italy’s future and with it a continuation on the reform path. 

Capital will Seek Safety in London

Colliers’s 2013 Global Investor Sentiment Survey reported that more than half (56%) of EMEA investors surveyed think it a good time to invest in the region and 59% plan to expand theur portfolios. For most of these investors Paris, German core cities and especially London are safe havens they will choose for capital protection. EMEA investors seek liquid and transparent markets with a quality stock of investment properties. Because London is ouside the eurozone, it is especially attractive in these times of euro uncertainty. Investors are willing to trade relative security for lower yields.