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Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Reports

Cash fuels Australian Hotel investment surge in 2002

Asian investors clearly demonstrated their return to the Australian hotel market, purchasing 69.7% of the total value of…

Asian investors clearly demonstrated their return to the Australian hotel market, purchasing 69.7% of the total value of hotel sales in 2002, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, who tracks major hotel sales (over A$5 million), recorded a total of 19 hotel sales comprising 3,661 rooms for over A$821.8 million. This corresponds to a 42.4% increase in the total value of hotels transacted in 2001. The average initial yield was 6.8%.

Domestic owners were the most active sellers in 2002, relinquishing A$301.1 million worth of hotel assets, comprising 36.6% of total sales value said Mr Geordie Clark, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Singaporean and Japanese owners were also active vendors in 2002, representing 28.8% and 27.6 % of total sales value respectively.

Big-ticket purchases by Singaporean investors (namely the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore who purchased both the ANA Harbour Grand and Westin Sydney hotels) accounted for 45.9% of the total value of hotel sales.

Also of note was the first major hotel acquisition by a Thai investor, who purchased Le Meridien Sydney for A$128 million.

As predicted, there was little interest from US investors, as they turned their focus to their domestic market.

The sharp increase in value of total sales in 2002 was due to the number of 5 star assets exchanged. This trend is also reflected in the average price per room of $224,464, representing a 44.2% increase over the previous year explained Mr Clark.

All hotel transactions were confined to the eastern seaboard and were concentrated in New South Wales.

Sydney continues to be a hotspot for hotel investment as investors seek to capitalise on the anticipated recovery in the Sydney hotel market. Poorer market conditions in Melbourne led to a quiet 2002 (one transaction only) as hotel owners looked to ride through the downturn. This trend is likely to continue throughout 2003 with the Melbourne market expected to decline further before recovery said Mr Clark.

According to Mr Clark, performance improvements in the New South Wales and Queensland markets are expected to spur another active transaction year in 2003. Further buying interest is expected from Asian investors, particularly from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The overview of hotel investment activity in Australia for 2002 forms part of the Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Digest Australia 2002/03 Edition. The Digest provides the latest analysis and forecasts for the country’s five major hotel markets. It also features an economic report card, tourism market examination, future supply tables and an analysis of investment and management trends.