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London Edges Out HK as Most Expensive Office Market

London’s West End unseated Hong Kong-Central as the world’s highest-priced office market, but Asia continued to dominate the world’s most expensive office locations, accounting for four of the top five markets, according to CBRE Global Research and Consulting’s semi-annual Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey. The study also found that rents are rising fastest in the Americas, where real estate fundamentals continue to improve. Overall, the Americas accounted for eight of the 10 markets with the fastest growing occupancy costs with Boston (Downtown), Mexico City and San Francisco (Downtown) included among the top five.

London’s West End’s overall occupancy costs of US$259.36 per sq. ft. per year topped the “most expensive” list. Hong Kong-Central followed with total occupancy costs of US$234.30. Beijing’s Finance Street, Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD) and Hong Kong’s West Kowloon rounded out the top five.

Globally, occupancy costs rose 2.2% for the 12 months ending Q3 2013, up from the 1.4% annual growth rate seen at the end of Q1 2013. All three of the world’s regions saw annual growth, led by the Americas, at 4.6%, followed by Asia Pacific, at 3.2%, and EMEA, at 0.4%. This performance reflects the relative strength of the recovery across global regions.

“The growth of occupancy costs for prime office space in the past year underscores that even in a slowly recovering economy, demand for the best space in the best locations continues to be strong,” said Dr. Raymond Torto, Global Chairman, CBRE Research.

CBRE tracks occupancy costs for prime office space in 126 markets around the globe. Of the top 50 “most expensive” markets, 20 are in Asia Pacific, 19 are in EMEA and 11 are in the Americas.

Occupancy cost comparisons in U.S. dollars are affected by currency exchange rates. However, the annual percent change in occupancy costs are in local currency and are not influenced by currency changes (except Jakarta, Indonesia where leases are typically written in U.S. dollars, but paid in rupiah, which means the occupancy cost increase is greatly affected by the currency depreciation in Indonesia).

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