Lim elected APREA’s chair to lure capital to the region

As chairman of the Asia-focused industry body, Lim, said he wants to build a bridge between established Western markets and Asia’s emerging real estate opportunities.  

The Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), the non-profit industry body, has elected John Lim, co-founder and group chief executive of Singapore-headquartered investment manager ARA Asset Management, as chairman.

An industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, Lim has had a long-standing relationship with APREA and also served as its senior vice president between 2009 and 2011. As chairman, his top priority now is to open up attractive investment marketplaces in more Asian cities as he is optimistic about the long-term fundamentals of Asia’s real estate markets, Lim said in an official statement.

“Global investors are looking to capture a great share of Asia’s growth dynamics. At present, most are under-allocated to Asia and APREA can help build a bridge between established Western markets and Asia’s emerging real estate opportunities,” he further commented.

Indeed, continued economic growth has contributed to increased investment activity across the region. According to Colliers, deal volumes in Asia’s property markets rose 19 percent, year on year, in the first half of this year to $61.4 billion.

Lim takes on the mantle at APREA at a time when he is leading ARA on an aggressive expansion plan – post its privatization in March when the firm was acquired by a consortium comprising Warburg Pincus and AVIC Trust at S$1.78 ($1.31; €1.1) per share – to also take advantage of Asia’s growth. The firm’s management has set eyes on increasing its overall assets under management from S$35.6 billion to S$80 – S$100 billion in the next five years.

In an exclusive interview with PERE in August, Lim talked about the investing potential of Asian capital, especially the likes of the Australian superannuation funds that are yet to deploy meaningful amount outside their country.

“The day they move – even a small friction will be billions of dollars. That is why I have a whole team in Australia. We are engaging them so that the day they are ready to invest in China, they think of us,” he commented.

ARA has until now focused on investing within Asia Pacific, but Lim told PERE that an overseas expansion is also on the cards in line with the growing overseas investing appetite of Asian investors.

In his view, the more unstable the geopolitical situation in the north of Asia, the more Korean, Japanese and Chinse money is going to the south, and west. ARA has operations in Australia to tap the tide of capital inflows, but not in US and Europe.

“I think this is a good opportunity to start looking at Europe,” he said.

Read PERE’s full interview with Lim here.