Grade A office rents will grow by about 5 percent in 2013, according to a report released by Jones Lang LaSalle Hong Kong Tuesday. The report said that the Grade A office market continued to expand at an aggregate level in 2012. Demand, however, was not evenly distributed across the market. The restructuring of the banking sector in Central area saw the demand for premium offices drop sharply, while the leasing market outside of the financial downtown area continued to experience strong growth.
Rents steadily declined throughout 2012 with overall rents retreating by 3.5 percent through the first 11 months of the year. The correction in the overall market, however, was entirely attributed to lowering rents in Central. In contrast, rental levels in sub-markets outside of Central continued to climb higher on the back of sustained demand and low vacancy environment, with rents in Kownloon East posting the strongest growth in 2012.
"We expect leasing demand to gradually pick up over the next 12 months," Ben Dickinson, head of markets at Jones Lang LaSalle Hong Kong, said at the report release press conference, adding " Supported by a low vacancy environment, we expect Grade A office rents grow by about 5 percent in 2013."
As for residential market, market sentiment in this sector was largely positive throughout 2012, with monthly transaction volumes slowly recovering during the course of the year to be largely on par with 2011 levels.
The report noted that the buyer favorable interest rate environment and narrow supply situation saw overall capital values in the mass residential market soar by 20.3 percent year on year through the first 11 months of the year. Capital values in the luxury residential market, on the other hand, grew by just 5 percent over the same period.
Joseph Tsang, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Hong Kong, said, "We expect thin sales volume in the residential market while the government's austerity measures remain in place. However, the effect of these measures on prices will likely be limited until interest rates are increased substantially."
Tsang said, "we expect that an improved economy from 2013 onwards will likely support leasing demand and rental growth for leasing properties."