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The base case macroeconomic outlook remains one of slow and steady global recovery. Although ECB action has eased fears of a euro breakup, the probability of a multiple euro exit scenario has doubled during 2012. This has caused occupiers and investors to overcompensate for risk when defining their operational strategies.
We expect that occupiers will remain overcautious on expansion and focus on cost savings, despite largely maintaining profitability. In the base case, rents are forecasted to be in line with general inflation across all regions, except Asia Pacific.
Under the downside scenario, we project lease re-gearing opportunities to emerge across all three regions. Asia Pacific shows the biggest net decline between base case and downside rental growth.
For investors, we expect no widespread tenant defaults or increasing vacancy rates, as new supply will remain limited. This means that property cash flows (including non-prime) are likely to be more stable than feared by many.
In our view, risk aversion has driven investors to become overcautious on many non-prime segments of the markets. But, prime-focused investors can still choose from many attractive opportunities. However, to achieve excess returns and have sufficient deal choice, non-prime is the next frontier for 2013.