Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/23/2014 -- We are forecasting continued moderate growth in the retail sector in 2014 and 2015.
The outperformer in the long term will be the retail sub-sector, driven by increasing demand for Westernstyle shopping experiences, as well as the arrival of international retailers and tourists into the country. Although the creation of new retail space could cause some fluctuation in rental and vacancy rates, in the long term the story is one of solid growth. This is true of all the cities that we cover, but we do note that although the retail market is Seoul is mature, elsewhere in the country there is certainly room for growth. In terms of office space, the city is dominated by Seoul, a regional hub for business and for finance. Although some areas of the city are reported to be seeing higher vacancy rates in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, we are optimistic that demand will remain strong. Grade A space in particularly sought after, both by domestic chaebols and international firms.
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Although we are less sanguine towards industrial real estate, as South Korea's traditionally strong manufacturing sector has been buffeted by global economic headwinds over the past few years, we note government efforts to rebalance the industrial sector towards more value-added industries such as innovative IT products and bio-science, and believe this will have long-term upside for the industrial real estate sector.
The South Korean commercial real estate sector is dominated by real estate investment trusts (REITs), indicating its developed nature. REIT activity is only likely to increase, and, in tandem, so is the extent to which South Korean real estate concerns are active overseas, notably in the UK and the US, but also elsewhere in Asia.
We highlight Seoul, with its three globally famous business districts, as remaining the main driver of office real estate in the country, charging the highest rental rates by a significant margin. The capital will also remain the key driver of growth in the retail space, because of its size and cultural importance. Meanwhile, we see a rebalancing of the traditional manufacturing city of Daegu and the port city of Busan towards more high-tech, value-added industry, as illustrating the long-term new direction of industrial real estate.
Downside to our fairly optimistic outlook for South Korean real estate in general comes from our forecasts for a still-slow economic recovery (we are forecasting a 3% increase in real GDP in 2014), combined with the long-term impact of a slowdown in Chinese growth, which could have a significant impact on this export-oriented economy. However, we could be beginning to see a recovery in the residential real estate market, which could only have a beneficial impact on commercial real estate.
- Real estate investment by South Korean chaebol's has been increasing.
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