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Office blocks are hot property for funds

THE ownership of 20 Martin Place is very close to changing hands with Australian buyers lining up against a number of Asia-based investment funds.

THE ownership of 20 Martin Place is very close to changing hands with Australian buyers lining up against a number of Asia-based investment funds.

Adding to the stock of assets being sought is Stockland's half share of 52 Martin Place.

Fueling the sales was the successful deal last month of Memocorp's purchase of 259 George Street for $395 million and Cbus's acquisition of a half share in 5 Martin Place for $48 million. Both were sold by the Commonwealth Property Office Fund.

Rick Butler, the senior managing director for international investments at CBRE, said the real estate investment market had been gathering momentum since July, with the completion of several major office deals and a series of small- to medium-sized transactions in the retail and office sectors.

"Offshore investors, particularly those from Singapore, were active during the month as investor sentiment continued to firm up after a slow start to the year," Mr Butler said.

"Purchasers have been particularly keen to enter the office market in order to capitalise on increased occupier demand for premium office space ... and the anticipated rental growth predicted to take place."

Mr Butler said that major offshore groups and larger high-end domestic superannuation funds would continue to account for the bulk of transactions and several groups remained on the lookout for office assets.


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