Wharf (Holdings) has raised office rents in Gateway Towers in Tsim Sha Tsui by 5 to 12 per cent. According to a market source, the developer raised the asking rent of the towers by $28.50 to $37 per square foot this month. The increases will be phased in. Sino Land, another landlord in the area, raised rents 20 per cent this month. 'With the improved economic condition, we anticipate steady rental growth and sustained demand from the financial and trading sectors,' said Leng Yen-thean, an assistant general manager of Wharf's subsidiary Harbour City Estates. 'Rentals in Central are relatively high now, so that will inevitably drive the rent up in other areas, especially Tsim Sha Tsui. We expect rentals to increase 10 to 15 per cent in the next 12 months.' Ms Leng said the occupancy rate in Gateway Towers was 96 per cent. 'With office demand remaining steady, we do not think the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon would be a problem for our offices.' Colliers International research and consultancy director Simon Lo Wing-fai said the vacancy rate in Tsim Sha Tsui was 3.8 per cent at the end of last year. The tight supply had driven office rents up 8 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. They would continue to rise, said Alan Lok, a senior director of office services for Hong Kong at CB Richard Ellis. 'But the rent will inevitably drop after Sun Hung Kai Properties launches the International Commerce Centre next year,' he added. Meanwhile, the tender for the DBS building in Central closed yesterday. The building at 139 Queen's Road Central has a gross floor area of 90,703 square feet. DBS Bank will pay $3 million per month to lease back the office for three years.