Rents for street shops in areas including Central, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok will decline by 15% or more in the coming year, the biggest drop since 2013, said Helen Mak, a senior director at the property agency. “For foreign and local tenants, of course, they have to be cautious when deciding whether to open stores now, which weighs on rents,” she said.
A decline in visitors from mainland China isn’t helping either. That could persist into 2020 and hurt local retailers’ sales and profit, Catherine Lim, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said. Lower shop rents could ease the impact of sales declines on retail margins, Lim said.
If it materializes, the fall in rents may erode Hong Kong’s position as the world’s most expensive retail rental market. Street shops in Causeway Bay charged the highest rents in the world in the third quarter, at $2,544 per square foot a year, despite the demonstrations that started in June, according to Cushman & Wakefield Plc.