Singapore office, retail rents fall in Q1 amid coronavirus outbreak

Office rents dipped by 0.8 per cent in the January to March period from the previous three months.
Office rents dipped by 0.8 per cent in the January to March period from the previous three months.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Both retail and office rents and prices in Singapore weakened in the first quarter of this year as businesses grappled with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, as shown by data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday (April 24).

The rents and prices of office space in the central region dropped for a second straight quarter.

Office rents dipped by 0.8 per cent in the January to March period from the previous three months, but less than the 3.2 per cent drop in the previous quarter.

Prices of office space fell by 4 per cent, compared with the 0.5 per cent decrease in the previous quarter.

At end-March, there was a total supply of about 682,000 sq m gross floor area (GFA) of office space in the pipeline, compared with the 753,000 sq m in the previous quarter,

The amount of occupied office space decreased by a net 7,000 sq m in the first quarter, compared with the increase of 30,000 sq m in the prior quarter.

The stock of office space increased by a net 33,000 sq m, compared with the increase of 29,000 sq m in the previous quarter.

As a result, the islandwide vacancy rate of office space rose to 11 per cent as at end-March, from 10.5 per cent at the end of 2019.

Rents of mall space in the central region dropped 2.3 per cent in January to March this year from the previous three months, reversing a 2.3 per cent increase in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Prices of retail space in the central region fell 3.1 per cent, compared with an increase of 1.8 per cent in the previous quarter.

At the end of the first quarter of 2020, there was a total supply of 358,000 sq m GFA of retail space from projects in the pipeline, higher than the 333,000 sq m at the end of the previous quarter.

 

The amount of occupied retail space fell by 43,000 sq m of net lettable area (NLA), compared with an increase of 26,000 sq m in the previous quarter.

The stock of retail space fell by 15,000 sq m NLA after rising a net 29,000 sq m in the previous quarter.

This saw the islandwide vacancy rate of retail space rise to 8 per cent by end-March, from 7.5 per cent as at the end of 2019.