Date
19 August 2017
Vacancy rates are on the rise in major shopping areas like Causeway Bay but store rents are still higher than they were a year ago. Photo: HKEJ
Vacancy rates are on the rise in major shopping areas like Causeway Bay but store rents are still higher than they were a year ago. Photo: HKEJ

Store vacancy rate hits 10-year high in HK shopping heartlands

Vacancy rates in some of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping areas have soared to a decade high as mainland tourists lose interest in visiting the city, Sing Tao Daily reported Wednesday, citing commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield (C&W). 

But rents are still higher than they were a year ago.

C&W said that by the end of June, 126 stores were for rent in Causeway Bay, 79 in Central, 95 in Tsim Sha Tsui and 48 in Mong Kok, representing increases of between 56 and over 100 percent from a year earlier.

C&W senior director Michele Woo Wing-sze said the vacancy rates are the highest since 2003 when the SARS epidemic hit the city.

Woo said the rate rises were partly due to increases in shop rents in recent years which had forced lessees to move. At the same time, some chain stores have cut back on the number of outlets.

But she said that overall rents in those areas were still higher than a year ago despite the higher vacancy rate. Existing or new lessees faced rent rises of about 40 percent in the first half of the year, down from between 60 and 70 percent seen a year ago.

In addition, vacancy rates have been stable on the area’s main streets, Woo was quoted as saying.

One landlord of several stores said that 10 years ago most of the customers were locals but now they are higher-spending mainland tourists so it’s reasonable to charge higher rents.

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TL/AC/SK

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