Jones Lang LaSalle’s markets experts have shared their expectations for the office leasing markets in Asia Pacific in the first quarter of 2012.  A dominant theme is the strong occupier demand in emerging South East Asian economies, which is driving rental growth. Jones Lang LaSalle is forecasting 6 to 8 percent growth in grade A office rents in Jakarta this quarter and 3 to 5 percent in Manila.

At the same time the bigger, more established markets which are dominated by financial services, Hong Kong and Singapore, are experiencing a decline in grade A rental values as the banking and finance sector remains focused on managing costs.

Established Asia Pacific Office Rental Markets Pause for Breath, Whilst Emerging South East Asia Motors On.

Emerging South East Asia Motors On
Established Asia Pacific Office Rental Markets Pause for Breath, Whilst Emerging South East Asia Motors On

Jeremy Sheldon, Managing Director, Markets Asia Pacific Jones Lang LaSalle commented:

“We are witnessing a polarisation in the region. Whilst we are seeing a slowing of leasing activity levels in the established markets, there is increasing activity in South East Asia, where we are experiencing higher enquiry levels than we have seen before.

Companies are taking advantage of the major labour cost arbitrage within these markets and we expect this to continue this year. Overall our forecast for grade A rents is for limited growth this year in certain markets. The market generally looks to be much slower than 2011, although last year was a record in terms of take up, surpassing even 2007 which was the last peak of the market.”

Sheldon continued:

“Our outlook is positive in that the Asia Pacific region continues to experience economic growth at a faster pace than the rest of the world and this is forecast to continue this year. Current conditions may be a good opportunity for companies to find space that represents good value for money and to secure opportunities to expand and consolidate in a region that will continue to grow in economic importance globally.

Much will of course be dependent on events in the Eurozone and the United States; we have already seen positive news from the latter in recent weeks and like everyone else we are keeping a close eye on events in the Eurozone.”

As well as the growth in Jakarta and Manila, Jones Lang LaSalle’s leasing experts expect to see growth in Beijing in Q1 of between three and five percent.  Grade A office rents in most other markets are expected to remain relatively stable, whilst the firm anticipates falls of circa five percent in Singapore, and between six and seven percent in Hong Kong this quarter.

Jones Lang LaSalle is forecasting 6 to 8 % growth in grade A office rents in Jakarta this quarter and 3 to 5 % in Manila

Market Overviews:

• Beijing:  demand remains strong on the back of on-going expansion, albeit with smaller spatial requirements in general, but quality space is still difficult to find, especially for large blocks of contiguous space. Landlords continue to set high rental expectations, but rental levels achieved in actual deals have been generally stable.

• Delhi: we see sluggish new demand and vacancy levels remain high. We expect rents to remain stable or increase marginally in the near term. • Hong Kong: there is limited new leasing activity from larger occupiers in Central, although we still see some smaller new market entrants focusing on buildings with smaller floor plates. There is some limited relocation activity, focussed on lower cost buildings within the same or cheaper districts.  There has been an uplift in surrender and sublease space coming from distressed businesses, particularly in Central, which is adding to the pressure on rents.

• Jakarta: leasing activity remains strong and tenant enquiries have not noticeably slowed down from 2011 levels. We are seeing a number of tenants struggling to secure space in the highly sought after areas of Jakarta, including the SCBD area and the preferred mixed use developments in the CBD.  A significant number of the ‘better’ projects in town are not accepting new tenants as they prefer to keep any available space for existing clients. The most active occupiers are from the following sectors: insurance, banking, accountancy, oil and gas and consumer goods.

• Manila:  we expect to see 10-15 percent growth in grade A office rents over the next 12-18 months. We saw 360,000 sq. m transacted last year, which we are confident to use as the demand projection for the next five years. In 2013 and 2014 we expect to see higher demand from traditional non Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) offices which will add another 50,000 sq. m of demand on top of the BPO demand of 360,000 sq. m.

• Melbourne: the downsizing of major Australian banks is creating sublease opportunities. Some large occupiers are exploring the suitability of using alternative workplace strategies to reduce their occupied footprint. We are seeing healthy levels of pre-leasing activity (up to 80% of net lettable area in upcoming projects). Tenants electing to stay put and renew leases are being charged a premium compared to new leasing transactions which need to support fit-out and relocation expenses.

Established Asia Pacific Office Rental Markets Pause for Breath, Whilst Emerging South East Asia Motors On. Jones Lang Lasalle

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