In a transformative shift within the Australian commercial real estate landscape, 2023 marked a pivotal year as private investors emerged as the foremost active participants in the market. This trend, highlighted in Knight Frank's The Wealth Report, underscores a significant reallocation of investment dynamics, reflecting broader economic conditions and investor sentiment shifts.

As Perth’s premier boutique property agency, Norfolk Commercial, rooted in the vibrant locales of Subiaco and Fremantle, Western Australia, is uniquely positioned to navigate these changes. Our specialised focus on commercial property management, leasing, and sales enables us to craft tailored, strategic approaches that enhance the value and potential of commercial property investments.

Unprecedented Activity by Private Investors.

For the first time in Australia’s history, private investors have taken the forefront in the commercial real estate sector, demonstrating a remarkable surge in activity in 2023. According to insights from Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report, this group invested an astonishing $14.5 billion into the Australian commercial market, accounting for 42.2% of the total investment. This represents a significant increase from the previous year, marking a 12% rise from a 30% share in 2022.

A Shift Amidst Market Contraction.

Private investors expanded their market share despite a notable contraction in the overall investment in Australia’s commercial property market – with figures nearly halving from $64.1 billion in 2022 to $35.1 billion in 2023. This trend reflects not only a changing investment landscape in Australia but also aligns with global patterns where private capital continues to assert its dominance in the commercial property sector for the third consecutive year.

Record Global Investment by Private Capital.

Globally, private capital has sustained its position as the most active buyer in the commercial property market, with investments totalling $US338 billion, equating to a 49% share of total investment – the highest on record. Even as private investment globally saw a reduction, decreasing by 46% to $US698 billion in 2023, it experienced a minor contraction compared to institutional and public investments, which saw a 53% decline.

The Strategic Positioning of Private Investors.

Private investors have exhibited resilience and opportunism amidst rising debt costs and uncertainties. Their lessened reliance on debt and more opportunistic focus has allowed them to remain significantly active in the market. Knight Frank Australia’s chief economist, Ben Burston, highlights that private investors have adeptly positioned themselves for an anticipated recovery in the commercial property market, which is expected to commence later in the year.

Anticipations for Continuing Private Capital Activity.

With interest rates projected to stay elevated globally into the latter half of 2024, private capital is expected to maintain its active engagement in the commercial real estate domain. Historical patterns suggest that private capital typically gravitates back towards commercial real estate during periods of market dislocation. Furthermore, Australia is witnessing growing interest from institutional capital from regions such as Singapore, Japan, and parts of Europe, hinting at an increase in transactional activity towards the end of 2024.

The shift towards private investment dominance within the Australian commercial real estate market in 2023 signals a broader transformation in investment strategies and market participation. With its deep expertise and strategic focus, Norfolk Commercial is ideally positioned to guide investors through this evolving landscape, offering bespoke solutions that leverage the potential of commercial property investments in these dynamic times.

In a year marked by unprecedented shifts within the commercial real estate landscape, private investors emerged as the driving force behind the Australian market in 2023.
Private capital has sustained its position as the most active buyers in the commercial property market for the third consecutive year, highlighting a significant shift in investment dynamics.

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