Shopping centers in Asia have become the latest essential item on retail investors' shopping list, according to international property firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
In a report published on Wednesday, JLL said improved consumer confidence and continued spending in Asia has led to an influx of foreign capital flooding the retail investment market in recent times.
"Shopping centers are the latest 'must have' for investors, who are targeting Asia in a bid to benefit from the region's growth and ever-increasing consumer confidence," the company said, adding that Asian billionaires have now turned their attention from 'trophy hotels' to shopping malls and flagship retail stores.
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This latest trend comes against a backdrop of a blow-out year for retail investment in Asia, as turnover totaled $21.17 billion in 2013, a 41 percent increase on 2012, according to JLL.
The property firm said the strong year was fueled by robust consumer spending in Asian cities, despite slower growth in China and worries about the impact of Federal Reserve tapering on emerging markets.
Competition for retail investment is fierce said its report, as there is plenty of fresh capital targeting the sector, from local high net worth investors to global sovereign and pension funds.
The report gave the example of The Knightsbridge mall on Singapore's Orchard Road, a major shopping district in the Southeast Asian city state. The mall was bought last year by Bright Ruby Resources - a private Chinese investment company - for $921 million.
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