In Q1 2013, overall office net absorption increased quite substantially and reached 417,688 sq ft, thanks to two large transactions in Central. Meanwhile, overall office rent also stopped declining, and increased mildly by 1.26% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) to reach HK$61.5 per sq ft per month.
The year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of total visitor arrivals remained strong at 19.3%, reaching 4,022,120 in February. Total retail sales have also shown stronger growth and reached HK$41.4 billion (US$5.3bn) in February, a 22.7% y-o-y increase. Although international retailers remain interest in setting up branches in Hong Kong, some second- and third-tier street shops remain vacant as a result of high expectation gap between landlords and retailers.
After the government’s further cooling measures in February, along with the increase in mortgage rate by major banks in March, many prospective buyers adopt a wait-and-see attitude. As such, number of residential transactions in March fell to 4,534, the second-lowest monthly volume in the past 13 months. However, the overall residential price decreased only mildly in March, by 1.2% compared to February. And due to greater price surge in the first two months, the overall residential index increased 2.5% q-o-q.
Since the recent round of government measures were extended to cover non-residential properties, the total number of deals exceeding HK$100 million dropped from 91 in Q4 2012 to 77 in Q1 2013, and investment volume dropped more significantly by 40.6% q-o-q to HK$19.57 billion (US$2.673bn). Transaction volume for office dropped more notably by 52.9% q-o-q to HK$7.28 billion (US$0.93bn) in Q1 2013, as the new policies have increased transaction costs significantly and scared off short-term investors.
Source : DTZ (Groupe UGL)