Increased interest in alternative sectors in Asia Pacific

​Investors are increasingly turning to alternative real estate sectors to take advantage of their attractive yields and long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific

April 10, 2018

Investors are increasingly turning to alternative real estate sectors to take advantage of their attractive yields and long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific, says property consultancy firm JLL, in its new report 'The Rise of Alternative Real Estate in Asia Pacific'. While major traditional real estate assets include housing estates, condominiums, office buildings, retail centres, industrial/logistics properties and hotels, the report defines alternative sectors as non-traditional real estate assets such as aged care or nursing homes, student housing, education, data centres and laboratories.

"Globally, Asia Pacific's alternative real estate market is still relatively immature compared to Europe and the U.S. but interest is growing as investors continue to seek out new sectors to diversify assets and enhance returns," says Rohit Hemnani, COO and Head of Alternatives, Capital Markets, JLL Asia Pacific. "The way alternatives are structured presents a long-term operating lease, which provides a stable income stream and decreases market volatility."

JLL estimates yields on alternatives such as data centers to range from four to six per cent in Tokyo and Singapore, and six to seven per cent for Sydney. By contrast, those for core assets such as office buildings can generate around 2.5 per cent in Tokyo and 4.5 per cent in Sydney, while shopping malls can command approximately five per cent in Australia and around 2.5 to 3 per cent in Tokyo.

JLL also expects the outlook for alternatives in Asia Pacific to be positive and continue to gain momentum due to broad demographic shifts such as urbanisation, an ageing population, as well as the region's rising household wealth and increasing use of technology.

"Asset classes like education and self-storage will stand to benefit from the growth of the urban population in Asia Pacific, which will account for over 400 million people by 2027. International schools in Asia Pacific are forecast to multiply by three to four times to meet a target of 10 million students over the next 15 years. This will boost the education and student accommodation sectors that are well-positioned to grow in Australia, China, India and Southeast Asia. Rapid adoption of smart phones, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will drive a surge in demand for data centres, bolstered by an additional 560 million internet users over the next decade in the region. Meanwhile, the region's ageing population will rise by an additional 146 million people within the next 10 years, contributing to the expansion of senior housing and nursing homes." Mr. Hemnani explains.

Can alternative assets become the next big thing in Thailand's real estate?

Observations by JLL in Thailand suggest that there are a number of alternative sectors that have strong demand drivers and growth potential. Prime examples are senior housing and wellness centres that could cater to demand from not only Thais but also foreigners. With a rapid pace of growth and an endless demand for data storage, data centres are also becoming an attractive alternative real estate development option. As Bangkok becomes increasingly urbanized and residential unit sizes continue to shrink the need for additional storage space is also likely to grow, opening up opportunities for self-storage development.

However, despite these strong demand drivers, a number of barriers to entry remain. Whilst different alternative sectors sit across different levels of maturity, the lack of know-how and experience to develop, operate, manage and market assets in a number of these sectors is one of the biggest challenges that Thai developers and investors as well as operators have faced. Having said that, no problem is without a solution when it comes to real estate. In sectors where no local expertise and experience exists, local developers or investors could seek partnership with international specialists that are looking for opportunities to diversify into new emerging markets such as Thailand.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of over 91,000 as of March 31, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

About JLL Thailand

The firm’s operation in Thailand began in 1990 and today is the country’s largest international property service provider with 1,600 employees and more than five million square metres of property and corporate facilities managed. In Euromoney Real Estate Survey 2018, JLL was voted as Thailand’s number one overall real estate advisor for the 8th consecutive year and also won top votes for agency/letting, research and valuation in the same survey. The firm was also named Thailand’s five-star winner in the commercial property consultancy and commercial real estate agency categories at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2019/2020. For more information, visit

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