Global Hotel Sales Down 76 Percent from 2007: Report

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Hotels has announced results of its study showing that global hotel sales have dropped 76 percent from a record high established in 2007.The firm reported that $13.9 billion worth of hotels have been traded globally in 2008. The region experiencing the largest drop in sales was the Americas, which dropped 81 percent from last year, yet remained the most liquid region, with $6 billion in sales in the first half of 2008. Other regions experiencing major decreases in sales include Asia Pacific, which lost 67 percent of sales, and Europe, Middles East and Africa, which lost 59 percent of sales compared to 2007.In addition to this trend in sales, the company found that hotel investment has come in the form of smaller projects. Of all hotel transactions, 84 percent have been less than $100 million in size. The shift from larger transaction to smaller sales is reflected by the fact that in the same time period in 2007, twelve transactions of over $1 billion were finalized as compared to one such deal in 2008.According to Jones Lang Lasalle Global CEO Arthur de Haast a reason for optimism despite the dismal figures his firm is that, “at $13.9 billion, hotel investment volumes are now at a level comparable to that of 2004, which similarly recorded $14 billion worth of transactions within the first half of the year.” He further noted in a statement that despite the current downturn in the market, there have been lower moments in recent history. Due to events such as the 9/11 attacks, the SARS outbreak, and the beginning of the Iraq War, “transaction volumes sunk to a low of $3.6 billion in the first half of 2002 and remained weak through the end of 2003. Based on year-to-date numbers, the hotel investment market in 2008 appears to be in a much stronger position relative to the 2002/2003 period.” The study indicates that investors remain optimistic about the hotel market globally, with buyers outnumbering sellers by a four to one ratio. The demand is driven by established sectors such as France, Germany, and Italy, while properties are attracting investors’ interest in emerging markets such as Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, and Turkey. However, due to the weakening trading outlooks for most markets, sellers are adjusting their expectations for pricing of properties, and costs of transactions have been decreasing accordingly.