Kowloon retail rents to rise faster than on Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong retail rents will recover more quickly in Kowloon than on Hong Kong Island according to projections by Colliers analyst Melanie Kotschenreuther.

Kotschenreuther predicts high-street Kowloon retail rents will rise 5 per cent in Mong Kok this year and 3 per cent in Tsim Sha Tsui, while across the harbour, high-street rents will rise by 2 per cent in both Causeway Bay and Central.

“Rising retail sales and robust demand for prime locations should contribute to a slight recovery of overall high-street rents this year,” she writes in Collier’s First Quarter Hong Kong Retail analysis.

“Second- and third-tier high-streets will likely remain under pressure in the first half year.” Next year, however, Colliers expects overall high-street rents to rise by 3 to 5 per cent.

Kotschenreuther says the decline in high-street retail rents in major districts continued to slow, with average rents edging down 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year.

“While some first-tier high-street retail rents, except in Central, have started to regain momentum due to robust demand for prime spots, rents outside first-tier high-streets in popular shopping areas have remained soft. Mong Kok, led by further rental improvements on first-tier Sai Yeung Choi Street South, could continue its positive direction, with overall high-street rents growing 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In contrast, overall high-street retail rents in Central dropped by another 1.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year as rental adjustments, particularly on second and third-tier high streets, continue.”

She says one of the reasons for this is the large size shop configurations common within the area.

Malls recovering

Territory-wide, improved market conditions and rapidly recovering retail sales (up by 15.7 per cent during the first two months of this year) combined with proactive strategies by shopping centre owners will help drive further improvements in mall rents in the year ahead.

“Malls are being transformed into lifestyle hubs, driven by new demand for excitement. We expect continuing tenant-mix refreshments and extended new dining experiences, paired with a comprehensive entertainment program. Mall operators are stepping up digital customer engagement and launching mobile apps to attract new visitors.”

She says the financial results of operators of prime malls in major retail districts show a positive development of their tenant sales last year. Wharf’s flagship mall Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui and Champion’s Langham Place Mall located in Mong Kok announced year-on-year growth of 9.1 percent and 5.3 per cent, respectively – above Hong Kong’s overall retail sales growth last year of 2.2 per cent.

“The upturn has extended into this year, with shopping malls enjoying a positive start into the Year of the Dog. Sun Hung Kai Properties announced that foot traffic in 12 of its malls was up 13 per cent and retail sales jumped 16 per cent during the Lunar New Year.”

She says the appetite for international affordable luxury and lifestyle brands, medicines and cosmetics and new F&B concepts is increasing, which will help strengthen rents.

Meanwhile, Colliers predicts 1.41 million sqft (131,200sqm) of new retail space to come on stream in core retail districts this year and a further 339,700sqft (31,560sqm) next year, led by Victoria Dockside in Tsim Sha Tsui and H Code in Central this year and at 15 Middle Road in Tsim Sha Tsui next year.

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