Following is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Anthony Couse, CEO APAC, of JLL. The interview was broadcast on CNBC on 25 April 2017 during CNBC's "Hong Kong versus Singapore" theme week.
All references must be sourced to a "CNBC Interview".
Interviewed by Dan Murphy, Correspondent, CNBC.
Anthony Couse: Singapore was also the net beneficiary in terms of inbound capital flows up 400 percent last year. Obviously, there was a large transaction in that, but if you took that out, capital flows is still 100 percent up in Singapore and I think the reason why Singapore is kind of on the radar of a lot of investors is because the fundamentals are very strong. And obviously, there is a degree of, the markets come off a bit, this is some, quite attractive pricing out there, so investors are chasing that. But the long-term fundamentals are there. Investors are buying Singapore because they see the future.
Dan Murphy: And when it comes to your long-term view on the market in Singapore in particular, what do you think is the path of least resistance? Do you think there's significant upside to be had in this market moving forward?
Couse: There's definitely upside in the market. I mean, obviously the government is very focused on improving the economy. Improving jobs 25 to 40,000 job creations per annum. People need housing. Singapore is kind of re-establishing itself as a hub in Southeast Asia. So we are positive on the outlook for residential and Singapore in the short to medium-term.
Dan: So how does your outlook compare to other markets like Hong Kong, for example, where we've also seen curbs being put in place but they haven't really been as effective.
Couse: Yeah, I think, very interesting. Hong Kong, they put some pretty strong measures in place, but they were not effective. To a certain degree, they took off a lot of this transaction volume, six percent down in the secondary market. But all the money actually pushed into the primary market, and now you see Hong Kong back at highest ever prices in the residential sector. So to some extent, recovery measures did not work in Hong Kong, and a lot of that is fueled by mainland investors buying up Hong Kong.
Dan: If you were to single out the best opportunity when it comes to the property market in Asia Pacific, where would it be?
Couse: I think at the moment the most exciting markets are definitely the emerging markets, particularly China and India. And I think India is emerging as a very exciting opportunity to focus on the years to come.
Dan: One of the other things that I wanted to ask you about, is the issue of curbing property speculation and one issue that policymakers have really struggled with in recent years is the big inequality gap in the number of markets in the Asia-Pacific. Is there an easy answer to the affordability crisis in your view that grips a lot of these core Asian markets like Sydney and Melbourne, for example?
Couse: So I think you have to remember that on the whole, the curbing measures are twofold. It's one to take out speculation in the residential market and two, in a lot of markets that take away offshore investors. But you have seen in a lot of markets where the government is focused on affordable housing and China's done extremely good job of that. Singapore does a good job on that. So you start, we have seen tension in a lot of markets in Canada, and in Australia, where local buyers are saying they're being priced out. So this is something that local governments must be very focused on to provide that affordable housing so it's a separate issue from curbing measures.
Dan: On that point, would you like to see more being done by governments in the region to improve housing affordability and to curb this excessive speculation?
Couse: I think the governments have to look at curbing speculators and affordable housing as separate matters. The curbing is something that they feel necessary to do to prevent that. But more important in terms of long-term sustainability of a market, of a residential market, it's essential they provide affordable housing to the people.