Thursday, February 12, 2009

HK office rents may fall 26%: Colliers

(HONG KONG) Hong Kong prime office rents may fall a further 26 per cent this year as the global financial crisis prompts banks and investment companies to control spending, according to property agency Colliers International.

'The prime office market is predicted to experience a further downward adjustment due to the consolidation of the financial markets and the global economic outlook,' Colliers said in a report yesterday. Office rents fell 13.4 per cent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, the company said.

Banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have cut jobs in Hong Kong as the economy entered its first recession since 2003. HSBC said in November that it had trimmed 500 jobs in Asia, 90 per cent in Hong Kong. Standard Chartered in December said it would cut 200 local positions.

The report, covering 26 places in the Asia Pacific, showed office rents in the region declined 4 per cent on average in the fourth quarter from the previous three months. The report was emailed and posted on Colliers's Web site.

'Individual centres with a tenant profile highly geared toward the financial sector have experienced steeper rental corrections in the order of over 10 percent quarter-on-quarter,' Colliers said.
Hong Kong's last recession was triggered by the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in 2003.

A survey by property agency DTZ last month showed that Moscow commanded the world's most expensive office rents last year, of US$255.60 per square foot a year on average. In second place was the West End of London, at US$186.20, and Hong Kong ranked third at US$185.20 a square foot. -- Bloomberg

Source: Business Times - 12 Feb 2009

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