Retail landlords headed for another horrible year in 2016, says CBRE

In its latest review and 2016 outlook report, CBRE cautions of divergent directions for office and retail commercial asset prices

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2015, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2015, 3:22pm

Retailing landlords will likely continue to feel the pinch in coming times, as the ongoing slump in tourism is poised to weigh negatively on capital values in prime shopping districts, thumping prices a further 20 per cent next year, on top of an expected 20 per cent drop this year, according to CBRE.

But CBRE predicts the office market will be a bright spot next year as the potential launch of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect will drive up demand from mainland firms.

“Retail rents will continue to trend down as leases expire, but given a lower base of comparison, the pace of decline is expected to decelerate,” according to CBRE’s Hong Kong Commercial Real Estate Review & 2016 Preview.

It predicts that rents will track the decline in capital values, tumbling as much as 35 per cent this and next.

“Sales momentum of upmarket goods will remain slow but mass market sales should continue to have more resistance,” CBRE said.

Symptomatic of the woes facing the luxury retail sector, on Friday high-end brands Prada, Miu Miu and Gucci unexpectedly offered up to 50 per cent discounts as a way to drum up sales and attract long queues of shoppers, including those from the mainland.

In a stark contrast to the depressed retail market, CBRE expects overall office rents to increase 10 per cent for 2015, and a further 10 per cent next year.

“Next year will be another year of landlords’ market but the rental cycle is approaching the peak,” CBRE said.

In 2016 office rents in Central would register the largest year on year growth, climbing 10 per cent, after rising an estimated 15 per cent this year.

The sector would also benefit from the limited supply with just 1.4 million square feet due for completion next year, it said.

CBRE also expects the capital value of office real estate could rise as much as 10 per cent next year, after 5 per cent growth this year.

Two noticeable office transactions in November offered an indication of the upwards momentum in the sector. Mainland developer Evergrande Real Estate agreed to buy the 26-storey Mass Mutual Tower in Wan Chai from Chinese Estates Holdings for a record-breaking HK$12.5 billion.

On the same day, China Life, the mainland’s largest insurer, announced the purchase of an entire office tower with a two-storey retail block at One HarbourGate in Hung Hom for HK$5.85 billion from Wheelock & Co.