Oz, Japan and China top for property investment

Australia, China and Japan have topped the list of the best countries for property investment in an annual survey of the investment intentions of the world's largest global real estate investors.

Falling property prices and the lower Australian dollar has pushed the country to the top yet it wasn't even mentioned in the Investment Intentions Asia Survey last year.

'A lot of investors are regularly getting on a plane to Australia this year. This was not the case a year ago,' said Robert Lie, co-director of the Asian Real Estate Association which conducted the survey along with the European Association of Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles and the US based Pension Real Estate Association.

Until recently property investors were looking for growth and opportunistic investment in emerging markets, he explained. But the 2009 survey shows that investors now want returns from core assets in developed markets. These include the world's large global investment houses such as LaSalle Investment Management, Morgan Stanley. Deka Immobilien Investment and Blackrock.

About half of the investors and managers of fund-of-funds (funds that invest in other managed funds) surveyed rated Australia and Japan as 'the most appealing in terms of performance prospects in Asia'. Some 41% of respondents rated Australian office and Japanese office investment as their preferred choice.

The breakdown, however, identified different levels of optimism among institutional investors, funds managers and fund-of-funds managers. The survey found that managers of fund-of-funds were more optimistic about Australia as a location than fund managers or investors.

According to the survey 64% of fund-of-funds managers listed Australia as the preferred location, compared with 58% of investors and about 40% of fund managers.

The respondents expected the market in Asia, including Australia, to recover next year, with some expecting to see signs of recovery starting this year.