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Hong Kong risks being faced with a major shortage of Grade A office space unless decisive action is taken to ensure supply keeps pace with demand, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said.
A new report on the subject from the organisation’s Asian branch calls for government action to increase the number of new office space sites in Hong Kong’s central business district and to make decentralised locations more attractive to employers in the region.
Leadership is needed to deliver clear guidance and an over-arching strategy to make sure that prices on Hong Kong’s Grade A office space do not deter the kind of companies that are crucial to the local economy, RICS’ said in its report.
Projections put together on behalf of RICS by CB Richard Ellis suggest that the current supply of Grade A office space in Hong Kong would only be enough to match demand if the economy were shrink by 5 percent GDP in the three years until 2014.
However, expectations are for solid growth in the city’s economy and so property experts predict that high quality offices will be in increasingly short supply.
“Whilst decentralised hubs will go some way to alleviate the shortage of space, there is still strong demand for central locations and new supply needs to find a balance between the two locations,” said David Faulkner, chairman of RICS’ group studying the issue of office space supply in Hong Kong.
“RICS recognises that without an adequate supply of high quality office buildings suited to the modern occupier’s needs, Hong Kong will become uncompetitive as a location for regional or global headquarters for the services industries,” he said.
The RICS study on office space in Hong Kong also makes the case for designing, developing and ultimately renting out more sustainable buildings in all parts of the city. The issue is not currently a priority among landlords or tenants but “can result in clear benefits for investors”, it said.