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Real Estate to Play Key Role in the Growth and Development of the ASEAN Nations

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Observations from World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012

SINGAPORE, 11 June 2012 – The real estate industry will have a key role to play in the on-going development of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) group of nations, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, whose senior leaders Chris Fossick and Suphin Mechuchep attended the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012, held in Bangkok at the end of May. 

Chris Fossick, Managing Director Jones Lang LaSalle South East Asia said: “The calibre of the attendees, which included senior politicians, academics and business leaders, was testament to the commitment within the region to reaching ASEAN’s objective of economic integration by 2015.  What was clear from the discussions throughout the two day forum was that the real estate industry will need to play a vital role in the growth and development of the ASEAN nations. This is a great opportunity and responsibility for all those involved in the industry, be they advisors, investors, developers or occupiers.”

The theme of the Forum was ‘shaping the region’s future through connectivity’ and discussions focused on key areas where connectivity needs to be addressed in order to secure the future economic, political and social success of the ASEAN countries. Jones Lang LaSalle highlighted the ten key areas where smart real estate planning and creation will impact on the success of the ASEAN group:

1. Increasing urbanisation: will continue, particularly in the less developed ASEAN nations, resulting in demand for housing, offices, retail space and hotels
2. Improvements in infrastructure: increased connectivity between ASEAN countries and cities will lead to more real estate development
3. Growing affluence: of populations will lead to increased demand for housing.
4. Increasing tourism: tourism, both from within and outside of the region, is expected to keep booming in coming years, which will create a significant requirement for more hotels and resorts, particularly in developing countries such as Myanmar and Laos.
5. Healthcare: the focus on improving health and the increased spending on healthcare will create a demand for more hospitals and clinics.
6. Developing industry and trade: will lead to increased demand for manufacturing and logistics facilities.
7. Focus on education: will create the requirement for more schools and colleges
8. Investment: will be required for the funding of real estate and infrastructure projects, this will present the opportunity to invest in markets with healthy returns, in comparison to other global markets; this will also lead to the development of established real estate capital markets.
9. Land ownership laws: will need to be liberalised to encourage investment in order to fund developments across all sectors.
10. Real estate professionals: as real estate development and related activity increases, the region will experience an increased demand for real estate professionals.

Suphin Mechuchep, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle Thailand, who also attended the Forum, said: “Major differences between ASEAN markets such as foreign property ownership, alien business laws and tax system need to be fine-tuned.  Once these areas are managed efficiently, the gap in competitiveness among the real estate markets in ASEAN should become narrower, and every market will then be able to capture most, if not all, of the opportunities that will follow the connectivity and collaboration within the sub-region.”

“For example, investors from more developed economies in ASEAN should be more confident to expand to property markets in newly opened economies like Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia where new business opportunities are abundant. At the same time, the less matured real estate markets in these countries will benefit from a better inflow of capitals as well as the transfer of tested business process, expertise, know-how and technology. All these are among the key factors that will allow for the faster development of the real estate industry in these less developed economies.  While this cooperation will help boost intra-regional investment opportunities, the stronger real estate markets in the sub-region should become more attractive to investors from EMEA and the Americas.”

Notes to Editors
The 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) together form an important strategic and economic region with a combined population of over 600 million, a nominal GDP exceeding US$ 1.8 trillion, and a growth rate for the region expected to exceed 5% in 2012 despite on-going economic turmoil in the Eurozone and the United States. The ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint has established concrete targets to form a single market and production base by 2015.