BMI View : The office sub- sector is likely to perform better than retail and industrial real estate over the next two years. However, the outlook for all three sub- sectors points to greater vibrancy, with higher levels of activity in both the leasing and investment market as economic growth picks up momentum from 2017 onwards.
Economic growth in Hong Kong is expected to be weak in 2017, with GDP forecast to rise by 1.7%. This reflects the slowdown in domestic demand and residential real estate market, as well as China-related external headwinds which will continue to undermine trade activity. The rate of growth is forecast to improve slightly to 2.5% in 2018 and to stabilise at this level through to 2021.
All three real estate sub-sectors that we cover will be impacted by the economic situation, albeit to varying degrees.
In the office market, occupier demand is likely to hold up, largely due to the interest from financial institutions from mainland China that are keen to establish their presence in Hong Kong. The Central CBD area should benefit most from activity by this group of occupiers. Outside of CBD, the markets are likely to be attractive to companies keen to relocate in order to reduce costs. Kowloon East has in particular been an area targeted by these companies in 2016, and we expect this to continue in 2017. Significant levels of office construction are taking place, but the majority of these are in Kowloon East. Construction is also underway in Hong Kong Island, but these are all outside of the Central CBD. With vacancy rates at only 3.7% in the CBD, we expect office rents to continue to rise in 2017. In contrast, vacancy rates are higher in Kowloon; and with more new supply scheduled to come on the market in the next five years, we expect rents to soften marginally.
In the retail sector, the fall in tourism, combined with declining house prices and a weaker economy, has been affecting consumer confidence and retail sales have been declining. However, Hong Kong has an affluent population and a low unemployment rate, and the anticipated rise in disposable incomes and spending power over the next five years should bring about a recovery in retailer demand for space. We expect rental values to fall in 2017, but to recover thereafter and begin to rise as economic performance improves. Hong Kong is likely to continue to be viewed as a retail destination by both shoppers and international retailers, and this will underpin its retail real estate market.
In the industrial sector, the warehousing market has been subdued due to both weaker trade and a softer retail environment. The market remains relatively under-supplied, with limited development taking place at present. The improvement anticipated for both sectors of the economy over the next five years will help demand for warehousing recover. Low vacancy rates will support rents in 2017 despite the weak economic outlook. We expect an increase in rental values thereafter.
Overall, potential for capital gains rests mainly in the office sub-sector, as rentals are expected to continue an upward trend owing to good demand and a lack of grade A space in the market. As a result, high quality assets are likely to remain highly sought after, particularly in core, CBD sub-markets. The delivery of new office buildings in Kowloon should also provide more investible product and attract investor interest. Investor interest in retail and logistics sectors will improve over the coming years, in line with a stronger economy.
Overall, potential for capital gains rests mainly in the office sub-sector, as rentals are expected to continue an upward trend owing to good demand and a lack of grade A space in the market. New supply will emerge in both office and industrial real estate, with a few projects reaching the market early-2016 - though good demand and strong economic fundamentals should sustain rental trends in both sectors. We opine that retail will continue to contract owing to the Occupy Central movement, slowdown in sales and lower consumption, which may result in more vacancies over 2016 and see rentals drop further.
The Hong Kong Real Estate Report features BMI Research's market assessment and independent forecasts of major construction projects in the residential and commercial markets, plus rental prices and yields in major cities. The report critically analyses the prospects for real estate within the broader economic and financial context - both domestic and global - via our econometrically-modelled and clearly explained banking and economic forecasts and follows this through to evaluate the implications for REITs.
BMI's Hong Kong Real Estate Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, business investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the real estate industry in Hong Kong.
- Benchmark BMI's independent real estate industry forecasts for Hong Kong to test other views - a key input for successful budgeting and strategic business planning in the Hong Kong real estate market.
- Target business opportunities and risks in Hong Kong through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments.
- Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our company profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs and latest activity).
BMI Industry View
Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis covering real estate and construction, regulatory changes, major investments and projects and significant national and multinational company developments.
Industry SWOT Analysis
Analysis of the major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within the real estate sector and within the broader political, financial, economic and business environment.
Industry Forecasts Outlook
Historic data series (2010-2013) and forecasts to end-2019 for the domestic real estate industry and for the local and global finance industry.
- Real Estate: Office, retail and industrial real estate yields for all major cities (%); short term forecasts on minimum and maximum real estate rental prices by sub-sector (USD per square metre and local currency per square metre).
- Construction: Industry value (USDbn); contribution to GDP (%); employment (‘000); real growth (%).
- economy: Economic growth (%); nominal GDP (USDbn); unemployment (%); interest rates (%); exchange rate (against USD).
BMI’s Real Estate Risk Reward Index
BMI’s Risk Reward Indices provide investors (real estate vendors, construction companies and financial investors) looking for opportunities in the region with a clear country comparative assessment of a market’s risks and potential rewards. Each of the country markets are scored using a sophisticated model that includes more than 40 industry, economic and demographic data points to provide an indices of highest to lowest appeal to investors, with each position explained.
Overview of the real estate sector, including analysis of existing/planned real estate developments and emerging industry trends in the office, industrial and commercial sectors
Features detailed city-level data and analysis on rental prices, yields, contract terms and real estate availability with separate chapters covering the office, retail and industrial sub-sectors.
Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate Company SWOT analyses. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.
*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.