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Stock market turmoil and economic uncertainty meant office space rental growth in Singapore was restrained in recent months.
A report on the subject from the commercial property advisory DTZ suggests demand for prime offices in Singapore’s central business district (CBD) remained high in the third quarter of 2011 but was hindered by concerns about prospects for the global economy.
The effect was to see rents on CBD offices in Singapore remain virtually unchanged in the period, while the cost of renting space in decentralised developments fell back slightly or “moderated” in DTZ’s terminology.
“Leasing activity remains subdued as occupiers become increasingly wary of the uncertain global economic outlook,” said Cheng Siow Ying, DTZ’s regional executive director of business space.
However, there were some industries in which businesses remain keen on office space expansion in Singapore, Cheng said, pointing particularly to the IT and energy sectors.
The overall occupancy levels at purpose-built office buildings across the island remain high at 93.9 percent after a 0.1 percent increase in the third quarter, DTZ said.
At 4.6 percent, Marina Bay, to the east of Singapore’s CBD, saw the sharpest rise in occupancy during the period but this increase came as certain companies relocated from other parts of the city and left sites like those in Raffles Place with fewer tenants.
“Leasing activity is expected to remain low and prime rents in the CBD are anticipated to stay unchanged for the next few quarters with longer rent-free periods being offered to attract occupiers,” said Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ’s head of South-East Asia research.
“As the pessimistic scenario of a financial contagion from the euro zone debt crisis increases in probability, the possibility of a fall in office rents has also risen.”
Raffles Place is named after the British statesman Thomas Stamford Raffles who arrived on the island in the 19th century and is generally credited with having founded the modern city, which is now one of the key financial services and logistics hubs in Asia.