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Measured yet steady market stabilisation expected in a year of continued recovery, renewal and reset

HONG KONG, 18 January 2022 – Leading diversified professional services and investment management company Colliers (NASDAQ and TSX: CIGI) has released its Hong Kong Market Outlook report for 2022.  The company forecasts 2022 to be a year of measured but steady recovery across many of the city’s property sectors.

“Hong Kong’s economy grew by 7% GDP year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2021. Given the current context, we expect a more moderate start in Q1 2022, with momentum gathering pace in Q2 2022 onwards. With prices and rents having reset to a more attractive level, this is a good time for investors and occupiers to drive their real estate strategies and capitalise on growth opportunities,”  said Rosanna Tang, Head of Research, Hong Kong & Greater Bay Area.

Office

Improved leasing sentiment saw overall office rents stabilise initially across key submarkets in 2021. However with net demand remaining relatively sluggish, Colliers predicts Hong Kong’s Grade A office market will continue to be soft, as net rents remain relatively flat in 2022 with a slight upside of about 1%.

“We expect rental recovery in 2022 to look different across different submarkets. Outperforming districts will include Central/Admiralty and Tsim Sha Tsui, which are expected to pick up by 4% and 3% respectively. Submarkets like Island East and Kowloon East, which boast large new supply pipelines and higher vacancy rates, will likely experience rental corrections of -3% and -2.5%. With asset quality becoming an important criteria for occupiers, landlords, especially those with older buildings, need to be more proactive in refurbishing or future proofing their buildings to maintain competitiveness,” said Fiona Ngan, Head of Office Services at Colliers Hong Kong.

Industrial

The first commercial sector to rebound in 2021, Colliers expects the industrial market to continue to grow in 2022, with overall warehouse rents and prices to increase by 5% and 7% respectively.

“This year, the industrial leasing market continues to outperform after experiencing diversified sources of demand from different occupier's sectors due to increasing adoption of tech and e-commerce. Beyond traditional drivers like third-party logistics (3PL) providers, leasing demand in 2021 also derived from the F&B and technology side, with an increased demand for cold storage spaces, central kitchens and data centres. The ongoing solid export trade performance with the backdrop of limited new warehouse supply means investors should take advantage of conversion and redevelopment options,” said Rosanna Tang.

Retail

The Omicron variant in January 2022 will inevitably slow down the recovery process of the Hong Kong Retail Market. Re-tightening of social distancing rules will limit expansion and sales performance for F&B operators.  Having said that, Colliers believes the retail market bottomed out in 2021, with total retail sales increasing by 8.3% YOY for the first 11 months. This was supported by improved market sentiment, shopping momentum and a better labour market.   Local consumption is expected to remain the key driver of Hong Kong’s retail market in 2022, amid potentially prolonged travel restrictions this year.  

“Subject to the containment of the Omicron variant and the easing of social distancing measures in Q1, we predict retail rents to pick up from 2021’s low base as prime retail rents gently recover within a 5% range. Performing neighbourhood malls may have a higher percentage of rental increase as more people are willing to spend and dine in non-traditional retail districts. Quality coffee shops, modern F&B, home living & electronics and lifestyle supermarkets will do sustainably well over the following twelve months while the luxury market will take time to fully recover,” said Cynthia Ng, Executive Director, Retail Services at Colliers Hong Kong.

Capital Markets and Investment

In a market seeing strong pent-up demand and high liquidity, investors appear to have a clear appetite for expanding and diversifying their portfolios. Although transaction volume is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, Hong Kong’s investment transactions picked up from 2020, with 170 deals concluded in 2021 at a total value of HK$73.3 billion, an increase of 49% and 23% year-on-year respectively. Institutional investors conducted 69% of transactions in 2021, the majority of which focused on the industrial side. 

“We expect transactions in 2022 to increase, with overall investment volumes predicted to grow by around 15%. Neighborhood retail and industrial spaces are increasingly popular as defensive options for investors, while strata-title offices, street shops and hotels are presenting more upside potential. Whilst residential demand remains very solid in Hong Kong, we are also seeing more investment funds partnering up with local developers on residential developments.” said Thomas Chak, Executive Director, Capital Market & Investment Services at Colliers Hong Kong. 

Residential 

Omicron is expected to have a short-lived impact on the sentiment of the residential sector, as pent-up demand and the low interest rate environment will keep housing prices strong, with Colliers predicting mild growth for the mass residential sector in 2022. Lease modification and land exchange proved a substantial contributor of private housing land supply in 2021, going against previous forecasts that pegged government land sales to be  most impactful. By Q4 of the financial year 2021, lease modification and land exchange accounted for 57% of the whole year’s private housing supply (11,390 housing units), as compared to 17% (3,410 housing units) from government land sales.

“Long-term government initiatives such as the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy and Lantau Tomorrow Vision project will take at least a decade to bring into effect. In the short to medium term, private market forces should play a more prominent role in alleviating the housing shortage as new housing supply is limited in the near-term. Practices such as charging standard rate premiums for the redevelopment of agricultural lots, granting early approval on land exchange applications, and reviewing the Tso/Tong land sales arrangement to ease sales restrictions will prove invaluable for expediting housing land supply, especially in New Development Areas (NDAs),” said Dorothy Chow, Asia, Executive Director, Valuation  & Advisory Services at Colliers.


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Fiona Ngan

Head of Office Services

Office Services

Hong Kong

Fiona Ngan is the Head of Office Services and she has 26 years in this field and presently focuses on leading the Hong Kong and Kowloon Office team. Her strengths include project leasing and the provision of a board range of client services, particularly in Tenant Representations. She has extensive experience in business development, real estate strategic solutions and a range of consultancy services.

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Cynthia Ng

Executive Director | Head of Retail Services

Retail Services

Hong Kong

Cynthia Ng is an award-winning retail services veteran with more than 14 years’ experience.  Cynthia was educated in Sydney and holds a bachelor degree in Construction Economics (Quantity Surveying) from University of Technology, Sydney.  She started her career with major developers in Sydney and has spent the last 11 years in Hong Kong with global property agencies working across all key retail sectors and high-profile fashion, F&B and international FMCG brands.

As Executive Director of Retail Services, Cynthia leads the successful operation of the retail brokerage business, meeting the needs of the company and her clients, while cultivating a team with the best leasing advisory and negotiating skills.

Prior to joining Colliers, she worked in CBRE as Director of Hong Kong Retail, with a key focus on international brands entering and expanding in Hong Kong. In 2015 she won the ‘Excellence in retail services’ award from CBRE, recognising her achievements in business.

 

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Thomas Chak

Executive Director

Capital Markets & Investment Services

Hong Kong

AREA OF EXPERTISE
Being an award-winning industry specialist, Thomas is highly regarded amongst his peers and clients with over 18 years’ property investment experience. The key client focus of Capital Markets remains institutional clients, local investors and developers, family offices and private high net worth individuals as well as PRC inbound capital. 

PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Thomas develops and fosters partnership and consultancy based approaches to clients, resulting in improved profitability through high client retention rates and improved business profile. 

BUSINESS AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Thomas has joined Colliers as Executive Director of Capital Markets in July 2019. In a way, this is a homecoming for Thomas as he was with Colliers’ Capital Markets team between 2006 and 2008.  Prior to joining back Colliers, he was with Knight Frank as Senior Director of Capital Markets, where he completed transactions of over HK$8 billion.   

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Dorothy Chow

Executive Director | Asia

Valuation & Advisory Services

Hong Kong

Dorothy is a qualified general practice surveyor.  She has over 24 years'  experience specializing in valuation, land matters and property development.  She has solid experience on valuation and advisory matters including:

  • Portfolio asset valuation
  • Valuation for litigation
  • Valuation for compulsory sale of land for redevelopment 
  • Valuation for rent review
  • Rates, tax and stamp duty negotiation with the Government
  • Land and development matters
  • Development consultancy to public bodies and corporates

In her career, Dorothy  has developed strong relationships with numerous developers, investors, and institutional clients,  She has particular experience in providing support to legal actions and rent reviews.

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Rosanna Tang

Head of Research, Hong Kong & Greater Bay Area

Research

Hong Kong

Rosanna Tang leads the research team in Hong Kong and South China in Colliers. Driving different research papers and client-orientated initiatives, Rosanna has a deep understanding of all property sectors, research products, and client requirements. Rosanna is also one of the spokespersons in the company, and she frequently speaks in different industry events and media interviews. 
 

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