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Concerts, tourist boom boost Singapore prime retail rents in Q1

Famed shopping strip Orchard Road led the rental growth.

Rents of prime retail spaces across Singapore rose 3.4% year on year in the first quarter after the city-state hosted major events and posted a strong tourism rebound at the start of 2024, according to Knight Frank.
 
Its latest market report showed gross rents of prime retail assets islandwide averaged S$27.20 per square foot per month last quarter, up 0.6% from the previous quarter. 

The strong showing was buoyed by the 0.8% rise in leasing rates in the Orchard area and the 0.7% uptick in rents in shopping precincts of Marina Centre, City Hall and Bugis. Year on year, prime retail rents rose the fastest in Marina Centre, City Hall and Bugis with a 4.4% jump.

City fringe locations posted a 0.5% quarterly uptick in prime retail rents while the suburbs lagged, only inching up by 0.4% quarter on quarter and by 2.2% year on year.

Knight Frank said the sector benefitted from the city-state’s strong tourism numbers nearing pre-pandemic levels with about 1.4 million tourist arrivals recorded each month for the first two months of 2024 alone. It said concerts by major international acts like Coldplay and Taylor Swift, as well as big events like the biennial Singapore Airshow, helped boost tourism.

“Amid operating cost challenges and a strong Singapore dollar that might be a bane for tourists, retailers have had a good start to the year on the back of international events and Swiftonomics that have brought international visitor arrivals ever closer to pre-pandemic norms,” said Ethan Hsu, head of retail at Knight Frank.

READ MORE: Hotel, retail assets seen leading this year’s real estate investments

The property agency sees rents and occupancy levels of prime retail properties across Singapore staying within “healthy levels” for the rest of the year as tourist arrivals are expected to continue growing.

More retailers, locally and abroad, are also looking to expand their presence in Singapore to establish their brand and capture a slice of the wealthiest city in Southeast Asia. 

Knight Frank forecasted prime retail rents to increase between 2% and 4% for the full year 2024.

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