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Home, retail, office rental growth to ease

Business Times – 25 Mar 2008

Housing rentals to rise 5-15% year-on-year in 2008: Knight Frank

PRIVATE housing rents are expected to grow at a slower pace this year than last year, Knight Frank said in a report yesterday.

The property consultancy firm expects a year-on-year rise of 5-15 per cent in 2008 – after a massive 40 per cent year-on-year increase in 2007.

Knight Frank’s estimates are based on the resistance of tenants and companies to even higher rents, and the limited availability of places at foreign schools for children of expatriates.

‘Due to the fact that foreign schools are full and there are long waiting lists faced by children of foreign families who relocated here, housing demand from new foreign family tenants is projected to decrease,’ Knight Frank said.

‘On top of this, foreign tenants as well as corporate HR (departments) have readjusted housing allowances this year, which constricts rental demand according to their budgets.’

Despite this, a demand-supply imbalance could still result in rental rises until a supply of new units is felt significantly from 2009.

About 8,400 new private homes will be completed this year. But the number will expand dramatically in the three years from 2009 to 2011, with an estimated 16,000 to 17,000 units completed each year.

This could put downward pressure on rents, Knight Frank said.

The same holds true for the retail sector. Knight Frank predicts that landlords could face stronger resistance from retailers to rising rents in the later part of 2008 as more space comes on stream.

‘Rents are forecast to maintain at their current level only until early 2008,’ it said. ‘Faced with a larger supply in the pipeline in the second half of 2008, island-wide prime retail rents are projected to appreciate by a relatively modest 5-10 per cent for entire 2008, compared to 22.1 per cent growth in 2007.’

Knight Frank also said growth in office rents and capital values in 2008 and 2009 will likely to be more moderate than in 2007. Office rents are forecast to rise 10-20 per cent year on year, while capital values are expected to increase 10-15 per cent year on year.

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