Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Raffles Place Q4 Office Rents Slide 15.8%: DTZ

Source : The Business Times, January 6, 2009

Poor demand, more space seen lowering occupancy rates, rents in 2009

Prime office rents in Raffles Place sank 15.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter (qoq) in the final three months of 2008 to an average of $16 per square foot per month (psf pm), representing the first decline since Q4 2003, according to DTZ Research.

Ample supply: In Raffles Place, the average office occupancy fell 1.3 percentage points qoq to 95.6 per cent in Q4 2008. Island-wide, occupancies slid 0.8 of a percentage point to 95.6 per cent

The drop was the biggest among the micro markets tracked by DTZ. Office rents in the Marina Centre micro market also fell a hefty 12.9 per cent qoq to $13.50 psf pm.

'While the low level of new office supply supported rents in the first nine months of 2008, the market began to favour occupiers in Q4 as demand fell,' DTZ said. 'Landlords have lowered their asking rents and are offering attractive incentives to retain existing tenants and attract new ones.'

Office vacancies edged up further in Q4 2008 as demand dwindled. Except for Tampines Finance Park, where occupancy remained at 96.8 per cent, occupancy in all other micro markets declined.

In Raffles Place, the average office occupancy fell 1.3 percentage points qoq to 95.6 per cent in Q4 2008. Island-wide, office occupancies slid 0.8 of a percentage point qoq to 95.6 per cent, as new supply was added and demand weakened as companies shelved expansions, cut back on space needs or shifted to cheaper locations such as high-tech industrial space or converted state property.

DTZ said that shadow space is beginning to surface as occupiers dispose of excess space, although the amount available for occupation in Q4 2008 was still insignificant, at about one per cent of total vacant office space island-wide.

In response to falling demand, there has been a cutback in new office supply - but not enough to ease an impending glut as most major projects are already under construction, DTZ noted. Deferred developments totalling about 872,000 sq ft of new office space include South Beach, office extensions at Tampines Mall and Funan DigitaLife Mall and the redevelopment of Marina House. DTZ puts potential office supply from 2009 to 2013 at 11.3 million sq ft, compared with an earlier estimate of 12.1 million sq ft.

DTZ said that in view of the deteriorating global financial situation and the large amount of new office space coming on stream in Singapore this year, occupancy rates and rents are expected to decline further in 2009.

The firm also noted that sentiment in the industrial property market has soured, as the manufacturing and office sectors continue to weaken. Rents for private conventional industrial space declined in Q4 2008 for the first time since Q3 2003.

Rents for first-storey and upper-storey private industrial space dipped 2.1 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively qoq to $2.30 and $2 psf pm. Rents for hi-tech industrial property slid 4.4 per cent qoq to $4.30 psf pm - the first decline since Q2 2004.

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