International commercial property markets have reacted to the increased uncertainty in the global economy in late 2011 and early 2012 with varying degrees of resilience. Demand for office space has remained robust in many markets in the US, Germany and mainland China, but reduced occupier confidence and falling rents have been witnessed in a number of major Asian financial centres and in the European markets most affected by the debt crisis. Strong recent leasing activity in Central and Eastern Europe, Germany and the Nordic region has contrasted with the weaker performance of markets in other European countries that have been more severely impacted by sovereign debt concerns. The pace of prime office rental growth has slowed significantly across most of Europe, and rental increases are expected to be relatively subdued in 2012. The momentum of the recovery in the US commercial property sector has been maintained, supported by an improving labour market. Class A office rents have been rising in most US markets, with the strongest growth being recorded in Manhattan and San Francisco, where occupier demand has been driven by the thriving technology sector. Asian office markets have experienced contrasting recent fortunes. Strong demand for space and low vacancy rates have pushed prime office rents sharply upwards in the major markets of mainland China, especially Beijing, and rental growth is expected to continue during 2012. In contrast, prime rents have started to come under downward pressure in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Source: Knight Frank