Causeway Bay loses to New York in world highest rental ranking

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 November, 2014, 6:06am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 November, 2014, 11:23am

Causeway Bay, which has been losing its appeal for big-spending mainland tourists, has relinquished its crown as the world's costliest district for retail rents.

Its prime shopping streets saw a 6.8 per cent fall in average rent for the 12 months to September to US$2,735, compared with the year-earlier period, according to a report on global retail markets by property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, which placed New York's Upper Fifth Avenue in the top spot that Causeway Bay, now second, had held since 2012.

The period covered by the report closed as the Occupy Central protests erupted in Hong Kong, including Causeway Bay.

"Several leading local retailers recorded lower holiday sales. The beginning of the Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong since the end of September has further weakened the sentiment in major core retail areas, especially in Causeway Bay and Mong Kok where students are still blocking some major roads," said James Hawkey, head of retail for Asia-Pacific at Cushman & Wakefield.

Hawkey said retailers showed caution this year on expanding in Hong Kong "in the face of moderating sales performance and less exuberant consumption from mainland visitors".

The report, which ranks the most expensive locations in 330 shopping precincts in 65 economies, shows rents in New York's Upper Fifth Avenue rose 13.3 per cent year on year to a record US$3,500 per square foot per year. Paris saw 6 per cent overall growth but there was no change in rental values on the Champs-Elysees after a 40 per cent gain last year - the street ranked third on this occasion. London's New Bond Street retains fourth spot with a rent rise of 4.2 per cent.

For Causeway Bay, Hawkey said luxury brands were conservative on their expansion plans, while watch and jewellery retailers had cut back on new stores.

Credit Suisse said in a research report on Monday that spot retail rents in Hong Kong grew just 1 per cent year on year.

In a report by Colliers International, New York's Fifth Avenue also topped the global list of priciest retail rents. It was followed by two Hong Kong shopping precincts: Queen's Road Central and Canton Road.