Weak Euro Attracts Rich Asians Seeking Bargains in Property, Luxury Hotels

Stephen Diggle, whose Singapore-based hedge fund made a profit of $2.7 billion in the depths of the global financial crisis, is visiting the small German town of Flensburg this week in a bet the euro’s 12-month slide is almost over.

The euro’s decline against every major Asian currency this year has unearthed real-estate bargains for investors from China to Malaysia and Thailand to Singapore. Diggle’s fund has already bought more than 1,200 apartments in Germany, including many in this town of about 90,000 people, four miles from the Danish border. He’s planning to buy more soon.

“Europe is economically starting to recover from the seemingly endless slump, so there’s also some sense that the euro won’t be falling further and further against other currencies,” Diggle, chief executive officer of family office Vulpes Investment Management, said before his trip. “There’s some incentive to act sooner rather than waiting.”

Diggle is just one of the wealthy Asia-based investors looking for bargains on speculation that Europe’s single currency is bottoming out. Options prices suggest the euro may strengthen versus three of its eight most-traded Asian peers tracked by Bloomberg during the next year.

Cross-border property investment by Asians surged to $8.6 billion in the first quarter, the most active start to a year since the region began a major push into overseas real estate in 2013, Los Angeles-based consultancy CBRE Group Inc. said in a May 29 statement. Europe accounted for almost a third of that.

Source: Bloomberg