Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

News Release


Asia Pacific office market picks up in Q1 2014

Bangkok office rents continued to grow despite political woes

Demand for Grade A office space in Asia Pacific is beginning to revive according to the latest Q1 2014 Office Index from JLL. As corporates became more bullish, leasing activity picked up in some markets across the region during the first quarter of the year with an average rental* growth of 0.8 percent q-o-q*, compared to 0.2 percent in Q4 2013.

While expansion demand in the region remained subdued, net effective rents grew in over half of all tier one markets. Leading the region, Singapore saw quarterly rental growth of 4.5 percent on the back of low and falling vacancy while Japan also saw the market strengthen with a quarterly increase of 2.0 percent in Tokyo. 

Chris Archibold, Head of Markets, JLL Singapore said: “Island-wide office vacancy in Singapore is currently relatively low and consequently many of the major developers and investors have portfolios with occupancy rates in excess of 95 percent. There are three new office buildings coming to the market at the end of this year, two in the CBD* (South Beach Tower & CapitaGreen) and one decentralised project (Westgate Tower). These projects are seeing a strong level of interest from major MNCs.  The next wave of supply does not come on line until the end of 2016, effectively a two year gap. As a result of this combination of factors we expect the Singapore office market to see rental growth over the coming 12 months.”

On the back of this improved occupier sentiment, rents also edged up in Beijing (0.2 percent q-o-q) for the first time since Q3 2012 and started to stabilise in Hong Kong Central (0.6 percent q-o-q) and Seoul (2.1 percent q-o-q. Rents remained flat or recorded small increases in Shanghai, India and emerging SEA where Jakarta’s growth moderated to 1.0 percent q-o-q despite outperforming the region on an annual basis (+18.4 percent year on year).  In Bangkok’s CBD, rents in Q1 2014 saw a 1.3-percent increase over Q4 2013, and an 8.5-percent increase over Q1 2013 levels despite continued political turmoil. Sydney and Melbourne saw effective rental increases of between one and three percent over the quarter but declines were noted in most other Australian cities with the biggest quarterly fall of 12 percent in the resources city of Perth.

Dr. Jane Murray, Head of Asia Pacific Research, JLL commented: “Given the improvements in the region’s overall leasing activity over the first quarter, we are cautiously optimistic that leasing volumes will continue to grow, anything between 10 and 15 percent for the full year. There are, however, some downside risks to this forecast including the on-going unrest in Ukraine and possible impacts relating to the military coup in Thailand and elections in Indonesia.”

Whilst rental growth is likely to be limited in most markets in the short term, we expect single-digit growth for the full calendar year, with Singapore and Tokyo likely to see the biggest increases as vacancy remains low. Markets in Hong Kong and Beijing should continue in their recovery but we predict that Jakarta rental growth will be sharply lower than last year as corporates remain cautious.”

Throughout the quarter, capital values remained resilient, increasing moderately in most markets across the region with aggregate growth of 1.6 percent q-o-q and 5.6 percent y-o-y. On an annual basis, Jakarta is, again, the regional leader with growth of 15.5 percent y-o-y, followed by Bangkok (11.5 percent) and Taipei (11.1 percent). On a quarterly basis, Taipei, Sydney and Tokyo saw the biggest increases of 5.5 percent, 5.1 percent and 4.8 percent respectively, on the back of rising rents and strong investor sentiment.

q-o-q = quarter on quarter
y-o-y = year on year
CBD = Central Business District
All rents are net effective. 
Rents and capital values are on a net lettable area basis.