Removal Of Quarantine Measures Solution To HK Office Market’s Woes
HONG KONG – After CBRE revealed that Grade A office vacancy in the Chinese territory more than doubled in March 2022, property experts said that one solution that can significantly help Hong Kong’s sluggish office leasing market is completely withdrawing the city’s strict quarantine rules for inbound travellers, reported The Business Times on Monday morning (19 September, SGT).
The comments of market analysts came after Hong Kong recently reduced the mandatory 7-day hotel quarantine for all visitors to three days.
However, a research report by real estate consultancy Colliers stated that these quarantine restrictions are still more stringent than Hong Kong’s rivals, such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
“For multinational corporations, Hong Kong becomes less favourable for the location of (their) regional headquarters.”
There is also a “lack of clarity about precisely when quarantine-free travel will resume, which the recovery of leasing demand from (mainland Chinese) firms rests upon,” added the real estate consultancy.
Still, the Oriental Daily newspaper reported this weekend that Hong Kong officials could announce details on its plans to end hotel quarantine for inbound travellers. The announcement could come as soon as this week with inbound visitors instead required to undergo self-monitoring for seven days.
“It would bring breakthrough demand to the office leasing market if the local government removed quarantine completely,” commented Alex Barnes, Managing Director at real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
JLL said office vacancy in Hong Kong rose to 9.6 percent in July 2022.
“The office market was quiet in July and August, as the traditional low season of the market, with many senior executives taking the opportunity to travel overseas after the reopening of borders in most countries,” said Barnes, adding that he expects office rental activity will improve over the next few months.