Hong Kong has world's most expensive retail space: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - There’s expensive and then there’s Hong Kong.

Shoppers walk at the shopping Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The Asian shopping haven in the first quarter kept its crown as having the world’s highest rent for prime retail properties, at nearly 50 percent more than for similar districts such as upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Rents were more than four times the rate in similar areas in London and Paris, according to a report by global property advisor CBRE Group Inc.

The 10 most expensive cities for retailers benefit from strong demand and modest new supply, a recipe for stable record-high prime rental rates, the report released on Sunday showed. In some markets, such as Hong Kong and London, the sky-high rents have prompted some newcomers to look nearby. For example, in London, Mayfair has benefited from those priced out of Bond Street.

Annual retail rent in high-end shopping areas in Hong Kong averaged $4,328 per square foot (36,351 euros per square meter).

“Given that space is so expensive in Hong Kong’s prime shopping streets largely driven by continued demand from international luxury brands, many traditional retailers have moved into more niche secondary retail locations as they still want to be in and access the market, but have been priced out of the prime space,” Joe Lin, CBRE’s executive director of retail, said in a statement.

New York ranked second among the most expensive global retail markets, with prime rents averaging $2,970 per square foot (24,944 euros per square meter)

Europe’s prime retail markets followed, with London at $1,053 per square foot (8,843 euros per square meter), and Paris at $1,050 per square foot (8,820 euros per square meter).

The supply of prime space was tight elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. An inflow of U.S. retailers helped Sydney maintain its prime rent at an average of $1,018 per square foot (8,549 euros per square meter).

Tokyo was sixth at $895 per square foot (7,519 euros per square meter), followed by Melbourne, at $851 per square foot (7,148 euros per square meter).

Zurich came in eighth at $822 per square foot (6,905 euros per square meter). Brisbane’s mining and natural resource sectors, and growing population helped push that into the top 10 with its prime retail rents up 15 percent to $739 per square foot (6,209 euros per meter). Moscow rounded out the top 10 with rents at $739 per square foot (6,203 per square meter).

Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Richard Chang