Causeway Bay is the second-most expensive shop rental district in the world, according to property consultant Healey & Baker's annual retail study Main Streets Across the World 2001. Causeway Bay, with retail rent of US$5,630 per square metre per year (about HK$340 per square foot per month), followed New York's East 57th Street, where tenants pay US$7,535 per square metre per year. Third was the Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris at US$5,322 per square metre. Healey & Baker, the European partner of Cushman & Wakefield, said Asia-Pacific experienced the strongest rental growth, with an increase of 9 per cent over the year. 'The prime segment of the retail market in the region held up well in the 12 months to June,' said John Su, regional director of Cushman & Wakefield's research and advisory services, Asia Pacific. 'Rents for prime retail units in places such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Mumbai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore showed some increases despite the global economic slowdown.' Mr Su said there was a range of reasons why the market strengthened in the 12 months to June. 'Higher tourist arrivals and pedestrianisation of streets in various key shopping districts are perhaps among the more important ones,' he said. 'However, the tragic events of September 11 have started to adversely affect the retail market of Hong Kong as consumer confidence has weakened and tourist arrivals have fallen.' In terms of the ranking within the Asia Pacific region, the survey shows that Hong Kong is still the most expensive location. The average rental level in Hong Kong is about 36 per cent higher than Asia-Pacific's second-ranked area, Pitt Street in Sydney, at US$4,131 per square metre. The Ginza, in Tokyo, is third in the region at US$2,326 per square metre. Wangfujing in Beijing, at US$1,800 per square metre, has emerged to claim 13th place in the world rankings.