Office rents in Hysan Development's Causeway Bay portfolio have soared to a six-year high, buoyed by a shortage of new supply and a growing trend towards decentralisation. The biggest landlord in the area said rents had reached more than $40 per square foot - the highest since the dotcom bubble in 2000 - while occupancy stood at 95 per cent. No comparative figures were given but average office rents in the area rose 55 per cent last year, according to CB Richard Ellis. However, this is still 25 per cent below the record high of $50 per square foot set in 1994. But Hysan is confident it can continue to cash in on the upbeat business environment and the tight office supply this year. 'Overall office demand in Hong Kong has been strong because of the growing number of foreign enterprises,' said Mingo Kwan Sze-ming, Hysan's asset management director. 'Companies are increasingly looking for office space in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island [due to the tight supply in Central]. This trend will be positive for our commercial portfolio,' Mr Kwan said. Hysan, which derives most of its income from 3.5 million sq ft of investment properties in Causeway Bay, does not have a forecast for how much office rent increases will boost its revenue this year, according to Mr Kwan. But the company's net profit has been tipped to jump 38.63 per cent year on year to $844.67 million by Thomson Financial's mean estimate of 11 brokers. Aggressive office rents in Central had prompted a growing number of companies to look for space in decentralised areas such as Causeway Bay, property consultants said. 'Office rents are poised to climb higher this year, given that the whole of Hong Kong Island is still suffering from a shortage of new supply,' said CB Richard Ellis associate director of research Simon Wong Sau-chuen, who expects rents in Causeway Bay to climb 20 per cent. Hong Kong was ranked the third most expensive business location among 117 global cities last year with annual office occupancy costs increasing 61 per cent to US$107.20 per square foot, according to a DTZ Debenham Tie Leung survey. The next new supply will be Hongkong Land Holdings' Landmark East extension, which will yield a net floor area of 119,000 sq ft later this year. Shares of Hysan closed 0.99 per cent lower at $19.85 yesterday.