AROUND A$1.4 billion (US$1.48 billion) was splashed out on Australian hotel and resort acquisitions during the one-year period till June 30, 2012. Led by buyers from Hong Kong and Malaysia, Asian investors accounted for over 90 per cent of transactions.
The figures were based on the latest Hotel Investment Sentiment Survey by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, which revealed that Hong Kong and Malaysian investors outstripped long-time stalwart Singapore in snapping up Australian hotel real estate during the period. Malaysian buyers partook in 39.5 per cent of overall transactions.
Major hotel transactions in Australia during the year included the sale of Colonial First State’s Sydney Harbour, Melbourne and Brisbane Marriott Hotels to Malaysia’s Starhill REIT for A$415 million; the transfer of Rendevouz Grand Hotel Melbourne to Singapore’s Straits Trading Company for A$61 million; and Shangri-La Asia’s A$378 million swoop for Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney and Holiday Inn, Brisbane.
Other significant transactions included the A$12 million transfer of Club Med's Lindeman Island resort to White Horse Australia, a subsidiary of China’s White Horse Group; and Langham Hospitality Group Hong Kong's takeover of The Observatory Hotel, Sydney.
Investor appetite was strongest for Brisbane (62.5 per cent), with the city being the only Asia-Pacific destination to feature in the top ten global markets for buying, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
Meanwhile, Perth (48.5 per cent) and Sydney (48.0 per cent) were rated highest in Australia for short-term trading.