SINGAPORE-Asia is one step ahead of the rest of the world in recovering from the economic downturn, according to Jones Lang LaSalle global experts, who claim lease pricing there will rebound this year to the extent that it will no longer be a corporate tenants’ market. This and other topics will be explored at the CoreNet Global Singapore Summit here on March 23-25.

According to Jeremy Sheldon, managing director of JLL’s markets team in Asia Pacific, tenants gained the advantage in 2009, as no major city in that region escaped the global downturn. However, many Asian countries are well positioned to make a quick comeback, he tells “Asia Pacific is set to be the growth engine for business expansion going forward,” Sheldon says. “A brief period of illiquidity has been followed by rapid growth; 7% to 8% economic growth is forecast for Asia in 2010, and Asian banks and national finances are considered to be in reasonable shape. This strong performance is underpinned by government stimulus measures, an investment in exports and sound financial systems.”

Japan is the only exception, he says, where the growth outlook looks fragile “due to weak consumer spending and the country’s heavy reliance on exports.” Countries to look to for deals now include South Korea and Singapore, “though the window for Singapore will start to close sooner than everyone thinks,” Sheldon says. Pudong in Shanghai rents are already seeing growth, though increasing supply in China is likely to put a hold on lease rates eventually, he says.

Overall, corporations are starting to look for growth in Asia again, albeit in a different way, Sheldon says. “Cost saving will still be a clear objective – but the focus is shifting from short-term survival to building resilience for medium to long-term growth in this region – the growth engine for the future.”

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