HK shop rents dive, even on most pricey strip

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's retail property market has slumped with China facing its slowest growth in a quarter-century.

Russell Street has lost its claim as the most expensive shopping street on the planet to New York's Fifth Avenue, according to broker Cushman and Wakefield in November.

A July research report by Jones Lang LaSalle predicted prices for space in prime locations will drop 15 per cent to 20 per cent in Hong Kong this year.

Retail rents were down 12 per cent in Causeway Bay and 3 per cent in Central at the end of June, Oriental Daily reported earlier this month, citing data from CBRE Group.

The broker said in a report that the decline came after rents for shops at prime locations in Hong Kong's four shopping districts, including Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, increased by 213 per cent from 2003 to last year.

"Landlords have to face the reality, no matter how reluctant they are," Mr Lawrence Wong, a director at property agent Sheraton Valuers, said. "It's still better than leaving their property empty."

Colourmix, run by Veeko International Holdings, will rent a 1,000 sq ft space in Causeway Bay for almost HK$1 million (S$184,360) a month, 43 per cent lower than what luxury Swiss watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre is currently paying, said Mr Wong, whose company handled the transaction.

In Central, Hong Kong's business district, Adidas Hong Kong will pay 23 per cent less for the space being vacated by Coach Hong Kong, according to Land Registry data.

The sports brand's rent is HK$4.34 million a month, down from HK$5.6 million paid by Coach, the designer handbag maker.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2015, with the headline 'HK shop rents dive, even on most pricey strip'. Print Edition | Subscribe