China’s economy is showing signs of weakness as business activity slows. According to Chinese media reports, office vacancy rates in major cities have hit multi-year highs in Q2 2023, indicating weak demand. In Beijing the citywide vacancy rate reached 18.3%, the highest level in 13 years. Many of China’s other megacities saw similarly high vacancy rates. Vacancies in Shenzhen and Shanghai were 20.3% and 18.7%, respectively.
Caijing magazine reported that international real estate firm Savills found vacancy rates in Beijing at 13-year highs. Industry sources said the office rental market is struggling with widespread price reductions in 2023. Client demand has dropped significantly, with only 2-3 prospective tenants per month compared with an earlier rate of 2-3 per week.
Negative net absorption of 53,000 sqm in Beijing in Q2 shows a continuous tenant exodus. With weaker demand, rents are falling across major markets. According to Savills, average Beijing office rents dropped 1.5% quarter-over-quarter, now largely back to 2012 levels.
Other top Chinese cities had similar trends. Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen saw Grade A office vacancy rates of 18.7%, 17.5% and 20.3% respectively in Q2 per Colliers data. Cushman & Wakefield data shows vacancy rates in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen increased year-to-date, now at 16.9%, 18.6%, 18% and 24.5%, respectively.
The rise in vacancies stems from oversupply amid weaker than expected demand growth, signaling China’s economic downturn.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), August 21, 2023