Singapore was named Asia-Pacific’s top city for green commercial real estate in a new Knight Frank report due to its low carbon emissions per person, ample green spaces and low urbanization pressures. However, only one other Southeast Asia city managed to finish in the top-20 with the region having more work to do in this area.

Three Australian cities placed in the top-five with Sydney (second), Perth (fourth) and Melbourne (fifth) all recognized. Wellington, New Zealand finished third. All of Asia-Pacific’s top cities for green commercial real estate shared similar attributes but are unique in their own ways.

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Singapore stands out due to a comprehensive green building certification scheme and an ambitious plan to become a low-carbon built environment. Liveable cities like Sydney and Wellington boast ample green spaces that have been critical for inhabitants during prolonged lockdowns, providing a reprieve from highly urbanized lifestyles,” Christine Li, Knight Frank Head of Research, Asia-Pacific, said.

Commercial property investors are becoming cognizant of changing trends. For example, more tenants are in the market for green buildings. Knight Frank noted that demand currently outstrips supply in this segment and landlords can ask for a 10 percent premium on sustainably-rated buildings.

“Investors are placing more emphasis on strategies that maximize their returns from their ESG efforts. We have seen a swift uptake of ESG metrics benchmarking in the APAC region in recent years, motivated by the imminent need to curtail climate risks.” Neil Brookes, Head of Global Capital Markets, stated. “With debt cost soaring, yield-seeking investors will also be compelled to move up the risk curve to secure the desired spreads. Many will gravitate to more active asset management strategies, such as repurposing and value-add plays, to generate alpha. Adopting sustainable measures not only enhances portfolio security but has been proven to add a positive price premium to assets.”

Kuala Lumpur finished 19th on Knight Frank’s list of top cities for green commercial real estate and was the only other Southeast Asia city to make the cut.

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