Space occupied by the financial and insurance sector in Marina Bay closes in on that in Raffles Place
SINGAPORE – Marina Bay has a higher percentage of financial and insurance (FI) companies compared to Raffles Place, according to a recent study by DTZ.
As of Q1 2012, about 75 per cent of occupied office space in Marina Bay was taken up by companies in the FI sector as opposed to approximately 55 per cent in Raffles Place.
The study covers buildings with more than 100,000 sq ft of net lettable area.
Although Raffles Place has a lower proportion of companies in the FI sector, the absolute amount of space occupied by such companies is still higher compared to Marina Bay because of the larger stock in the traditional prime office area.
FI companies occupied slightly more than 4 million sq ft of office space in Raffles Place, compared to about 2.6 million square feet in Marina Bay.
The amount of space occupied by FI companies in Marina Bay is however expected to grow as occupiers move in to newly completed buildings such as Asia Square Tower 1 and Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) Tower 3.
Based on known pre-commitments by FI companies in these two buildings, the total amount of space occupied by the FI sector in Marina Bay will increase to over 3.3 million sq ft in the next few quarters as the tenants move in. DBS Bank, for example, will be occupying 18 floors (600,000 sq ft) at MBFC Tower 3 which received its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in March 2012.
Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ’s Head of Asia Pacific Research, commented: “The desire by FI companies to be in prestigious locations and in newer buildings designed to suit their needs has led to their gravitation to Marina Bay. As more buildings are completed in Marina Bay, the space occupied by FI companies there could soon close in on that in Raffles Place in the next five years.”
The office stock in Marina is expected to increase by about 2.6 million sq ft with additions from Asia Square Tower 2 in 2013 and developments on the land swap sites by M-S Pte Ltd around 2016. Conversely, Raffles Place will see only 720,000 sq ft from the redevelopment of the Market Street car park to an office building (CapitaGreen) in 2014.
Despite the relocation of FI companies to Marina Bay, the occupancy rate in Raffles Place has held up better in Q1 2012 because of its bigger base of tenants.
The average occupancy rate of office space in Marina Bay fell more than 30 percentage-points year-on-year (y-o-y) to 68.1 per cent in Q1 2012 following the completion of Asia Square Tower 1 in mid-2011 and MBFC Tower 3 recently.
Taking into consideration about 1.0 million sq ft of pre-committed space from both FI and non-FI companies at the newly completed buildings which will be filled soon, the average occupancy rate of office space in Marina Bay will rise to about 86 per cent. This is still lower than the 91.3 per cent in Raffles Place which fell 3.6 percentage-points from the same period last year but grew 1.3 percentage points on a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) basis in Q1 2012.
Cheng Siow Ying, DTZ’s Executive Director, Business Space noted: “There are still some pockets of demand for office space from companies venturing into the growing South East Asian markets and looking to set up branch offices in Singapore. However, leasing transactions are limited to small and mid-sized tenancies. In light of the continued economic uncertainties, existing occupiers are careful to take up space only on a need-to basis and avoid pre-committing to additional space. Most corporates choose to renew their leases or expand within the same building to avoid capital outlay and moving cost.”
Landlords of buildings with high occupancy rates are still keeping gross face rents unchanged.
The average gross face rent for prime office space, which does not take into account rent holiday, stood at S$12.00 per sq ft per month in Marina Bay and S$9.80 in Raffles Place in Q1 2012.
However, there is an increase in leasing incentives offered in the form of longer rent holiday, ranging between two and six months, by landlords who are more keen to fill up their space. Assuming a typical lease period of three years, a two-month rent holiday translates to a 5.6 per cent saving on effective rent.
Although the net increase in supply is low in 2012, there will nonetheless be downward pressure on rents as occupiers remain cautious and a substantial amount of existing space could be returned to the market for lease.
The net increase in supply is projected to be only 1.1 million sq ft in 2012 taking into account 1.7 million sq ft of new completions and 0.6 million sq ft of existing stock which could be terminated for redevelopment.
However, shadow space which represents excess space that companies have leased but are looking to assign and sublet grew about 15.0 per cent q-o-q in Q1 2012 to approximately 215,000 sq ft of which more than half can be found in Raffles Place and 80,000 sq ft in Marina Bay.
For the rest of the year, we expect another 700,000 sq ft of space to be returned to the market, either as shadow space or following lease expiries, as occupiers move in to newly completed space that they have pre-committed to. – DTZ Research
Source: Business Times 04 May 2012