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Thread: Singapore drops 20 spots in office rental ranking

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    Default Singapore drops 20 spots in office rental ranking

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...51354,00.html?

    Published September 23, 2009

    Singapore drops 20 spots in office rental ranking

    Its office supply pipeline is eighth biggest among 170 cities: survey

    By KALPANA RASHIWALA


    SINGAPORE has fallen out of the list of the 20 most expensive office locations in the world.

    This comes after the country posted the second biggest drop in average Grade A CBD office rental values in the first half of this year from end-2008 levels, according to Collier International's latest Global Office Research Report, which surveyed 170 cities across 53 countries.

    However, the Republic's office supply pipeline is the eighth biggest, with 10 million square feet under construction. 'This is likely to continue to keep office rents in the doldrums for a while more, despite the improving economic outlook,' Colliers International said.

    Rival Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) yesterday said the stock of shadow office space in Singapore - this refers to excess space that companies do not need and try to sublet - has shrunk from about 800,000 sq ft in July this year to roughly 700,000 sq ft this month. 'Some major financial institutions that were previously looking to sublease office space have aborted their plans in view of improved hiring expectations,' JLL said.

    Office-leasing activity has increased significantly although much of the demand is a result of a 'flight to quality' rather than expansion plans, says JLL's head of commercial leasing Chris Archibold. 'The recent uplift in market activity is centred on new office buildings scheduled for completion in 2009, as well as 2010 and 2011 for some major occupiers. We expect leasing activities to pick up in these buildings over the next two quarters as companies take positions on business strategies including headcount planning,' he added.

    JLL's preliminary numbers show the monthly average gross effective rent of Prime Grade A properties in CBD Core fell by 12.6 per cent quarter on quarter to $8.30 per square foot (psf) in Q3 2009. The average rental is now below the 20-year historical average of $8.40 psf per month after sliding 54.9 per cent from the peak of $18.40 psf per month in the same quarter last year. There have also been instances of landlords offering 'cash subsidies' to fund fitting-out costs of new tenants moving into their buildings. 'Rent-free periods, while negotiated on a case-by-case basis, are also becoming more widespread as landlords sought to maintain headline rents,' JLL said.

    With a substantial supply pipeline and no significant improvement in new demand, a potential supply glut continues to cast a shadow over the office market, JLL says. 'We expect average rentals to continue to come under pressure,' said JLL's head of SE Asia research Chua Yang Liang.

    This quarter, CBD Core office stock increased by nearly 600,000 sq ft from the completion of 71 Robinson Road, Mapletree Anson and 78 Shenton Way's South Tower.

    Colliers' survey showed that as at end-June this year, Singapore was the 26th most expensive office location, down from sixth position as at end-2008. 'In H1 2009, the Singapore office property market appeared to be one of the most severely affected by the lingering global financial crisis,' Colliers said.

    The island's monthly average Grade A CBD office rental in local currency terms as at end-June 2009 was 42.3 per cent lower than the end-2008 figure, according to Colliers.

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    Default S'pore out of Top 20 list of costliest office locations

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_433214.html

    Sep 23, 2009 Wednesday

    S'pore out of Top 20 list of costliest office locations


    SINGAPORE is now a relative bargain for office tenants. Thanks to a sharp fall in rents, it has fallen right off one key ranking of the world's 20 most expensive office locations.

    It sat in 26th spot as at June 30, having tumbled 20 places from No. 6 just six months earlier, according to a global office report yesterday by Colliers International.

    Indeed, average office rents here are now below the 20-year historical average of $8.40 per sq ft (psf) a month, after diving nearly 55 per cent from their peak a year ago, said another report from Jones Lang LaSalle yesterday.

    Its preliminary data showed that average gross effective rent of prime Grade A properties in the main central business district area fell by 12.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $8.30 psf a month in the current third quarter.

    The Colliers ranking showed that Hong Kong remained in the No. 1 spot ahead of cities such as London, Moscow and Tokyo.

    It said Singapore's office property market was one of the most severely hit by the global financial crisis in the first half of the year. It registered the second biggest drop of 42.3 per cent in Grade A office rents to US$55.53 (S$78) psf a year.

    Latvian capital Riga posted a drop of 49.6 per cent, the largest in the first half of the year, while New Delhi came in third with a 38.6 per cent fall. Hong Kong saw a 22.4 per cent fall during this period.

    Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has a supply problem. The Colliers report showed that Singapore ranked No. 8 among the cities with the most office supply in the pipeline.

    Singapore has 10 million sq ft of office space under construction - likely to keep rents in the doldrums for a while more, despite the improving economic outlook, said Colliers International's director of research and advisory, Ms Tay Huey Ying.

    'Singapore will stay out of the Top 20 ranking for at least the next 12 months, which means it will remain a very competitive location.'

    Jones Lang LaSalle said market activity has risen significantly in the third quarter but much of the demand is a 'flight to quality' rather than evidence of expansion.

    This was the case at 78 Shenton Way Tower 2. Commerz Real said yesterday that it has secured an anchor tenant - its first - for the building, which was completed in June.

    The Singapore branch of American Home Assurance Co, an operating unit of Chartis, will take up about 85 per cent of 64,000 sq ft of space for 10 years, with an option to extend for a further three years.

    The firm will move there next January from its present offices in Martin Road.

    So far, increased activity is not enough to absorb new supply, as core CBD office stock grew 600,000 sq ft in the third quarter with the completion of 71 Robinson Road, Mapletree Anson and 78 Shenton Way Tower 2, said Jones Lang LaSalle.

    'Under pressure to secure occupancy, some landlords continue to be aggressive on rentals,' it said. 'There have also been instances of landlords offering cash subsidies to attract prospective tenants in order to keep effective rentals high.'

    Rent-free periods while negotiated on a case-by-case basis, are also becoming more widespread as landlords seek to maintain headline rents, it added.

    With firms still cautious, new leases are likely to be signed at competitive rates and that will continue to weigh on the market, said Ms Tay.

    JOYCE TEO
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