Cities to watch: Asia-Pacific

Commercial real estate investors are returning to gateway cities across Asia-Pacific.

Beijing, China

Metro population: 21,766,000
(+6.4% since 2020)

Beijing’s relatively recent emergence as a global office market has led to the rapid development of newer and larger office buildings, which offers institutional investors the ability to actively deploy capital into upscale office buildings. According to data from MCSI Real Capital Analytics, the city’s existing office supply is more than 70 percent Grade-A space.

Hyderabad, India

Metro population: 10,801,000
(+8.0% since 2020)

The bustling metropolis has the region’s second-fastest population growth, behind Bangalore, and second-best rental yield over the past five years, behind Bengaluru, according to Indian real estate firm Sobha. Hyderabad’s expanding residential sector is expected to remain strong thanks to abundant infrastructure and a lower cost of living.

Shanghai, China

Metro population: 29,211,000
(+7.9% since 2020)

Shanghai is home to one of the world’s largest seaports and is a major industrial and commercial center in east-central China. As an emerging office market, properties built by local developers are often sold quickly to recycle capital. The city is also rapidly expanding in the finance, business, research, tech and transportation sectors.


Metro population: 6,081,000
(+2.5% since 2020)

As one of the wealthiest and most business-friendly world cities, Singapore continues to attract the region’s largest share of cross-border investment, totaling $1.8 billion in 2022, according to global brokerage Knight Frank. Singapore’s sevenfold expansion in family offices is a testament to the city’s investment activity and its growth as a wealth hub.

Seoul, South Korea

Metro population: 9,988,000
(+0.3% since 2020)

Korea’s political, economic and cultural hub is a gateway city at the cutting edge of technological innovation, notes Nuveen, and is quickly becoming known as Asia’s Silicon Valley for its prevalence of tech companies. As a more mature office market, Seoul has a mix of newer upscale offices and older traditional buildings for local investors.

Hong Kong

Metro population: 7,685,000
(+1.8% since 2020)

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, is an open economy with very strong financial services, banking and export sectors. While Grade-A office buildings in the CBD are generally held closely by developers, when they do sell, the properties often trade at a higher price point than elsewhere in the region, according to global investment firm Nuveen, a TIAA company.

Tokyo, Japan

Metro population: 37,194,000
(–0.5% since 2020)

Greater Tokyo, home to a staggering 37.2 million inhabitants, is the most populous city across the Asia Pacific region. According to JLL’s global real estate health monitor, the city saw $16.3 billion in total investment over the past four quarters and has witnessed a strong leasing recovery, leading to 3.9-percent average net absorption and an overall vacancy rate of just 4.8 percent.

Osaka, Japan

Metro population: 19,013,000
(-0.8% since 2020)

Osaka is a tourist hub known for its strong food culture and historic landmarks. The government has implemented policies to encourage foreign investment in real estate, while the upcoming 2025 World Expo has led to substantial infrastructure enhancements, according to media reports. Osaka is home to several REITs focused on commercial and hospitality properties.

Sydney, Australia

Metro population: 5,121,000
(+4.0% since 2020)

The robust Sydney office market has continued to see strong demand, driven largely by a flight to quality in the downtown core, while Grade-A office rents have risen by 3-4 percent in the Chatswood and Olympic Park neighborhoods last quarter, according to global brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. Industrial demand remains strong, but a lack of supply has kept transactions down.

Melbourne, Australia

Metro population: 5,235,000
(+5.4% since 2020)

Melbourne is a cultural capital of Australia, drawing international tourists and students. Global brokerage CBRE notes the city’s industrial/logistics vacancy rate remains at a record low of 1.1 percent in the first half of the year thanks to strong preleasing, and the development pipeline remains robust with several new projects delivering in Melbourne’s southeast and west precincts.