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Europe, US still more attractive than Asia for commercial property investors: JLL

Asian property plays are exciting, but it's commercial real estate in Europe and North America that are the most attractive to investors, a study by consultancy JLL found.

"The Asian Pacific markets, despite them being very active in terms of real estate and growing rapidly, are not as mature as the European and the American markets when it comes to direct real estate investment into the commercial sector proportionate to their economies," Chris Fossick, managing director of Singapore and Southeast Asia said.

The firm's Investment Intensity Index compares the volume of direct commercial real estate investment in a city over a three-year period from 2014 relative to the city's GDP. Released this week, the report found cities in Europe and North America topping the list of preferred investment destinations.

Leading the list was Oslo, which displaced London in 2015 as Brexit fears set in. Munich, Edinburgh and Silicon Valley featured in the third to fifth places, while Sydney, New York and Paris came in at the eighth, ninth and 11th places, respectively.

The Norway city of Oslo topped JLL's Investment Intensity Index for commercial real estate.
Andia | UIG | Getty Images
The Norway city of Oslo topped JLL's Investment Intensity Index for commercial real estate.

The only two Asian cities to make the top 30 lists were Hong Kong and Tokyo, which came in at 28th and 30th, respectively.

In terms of absolute volumes of direct commercial real estate investment, New York topped the list with London, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles rounding up the top five. The top-tier mainland Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing came in at the eighth and 20th place.

One issue of concern hanging over Asian cities is the level of transparency, which is relatively low in general, said Fossick. Country and political risks are also factors.

A higher saving pool in mature European and North American markets, alongside a low interest rate environment, has also made commercial real estate yields attractive for institutional investors in these regions, he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"Real estate investment also follows the activity and the opportunities in the local economy. If technology is the big growth area, that's going to bring investment in," he added.

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