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The Banking and Finance Snapshots cover some of the top sector locations in the EMEA region, providing an overview of prime rents, rental forecasts, recent transactions, market commentary and sector specific 'news and views.
Leasing activity increased on the quarter, but was down on the strong numbers recorded in 2011. Occupiers are continuing to consider all possible solutions when it comes to leasing decisions. Supply constraints in some core markets are forcing occupiers to move into more peripheral space, but generally the preference is for better quality space for operational efficiency reasons.fm
Rents remained stable over the quarter, but are down on year ago levels. The relative lack of prime space is underpinning rental stability in many markets, but there is continued divergence between Southern Europe and countries in the West and North. Rental growth was evident in Russia, Germany and the Nordics.
Investment – Transaction volumes improved quarter on quarter in Q4, and the total for the year was marginally up on 2011. The UK continued to dominate the market in this sector, followed by activity in Germany, France and CEE. The majority of investors sought core assets in cities with stronger economic prospects.
Prime rents were unchanged in the majority of markets in Q4. However, London, Paris and Berlin, three of Europe’s top retail and tourist destinations, all saw significant rental growth, with increases of 15-20% in the year as a whole. This was due to the limited availability of prime space and significant demand from international retailers for the best units. In contrast, vacancy rates are rising in secondary locations and in most of these markets rents are falling.
Consumers are facing the challenges of high unemployment, the threat of further job losses and austerity measures, creating an uncertain economic environment. As a result, confidence levels remain well below long term average levels in most markets. Consumer sentiment did improve slightly in some markets, most notably in Ireland, but the overall EU indicator fell marginally, by 0.1 point, in December 2012.
Retail sales in EU-27 declined over the important Christmas period, in line with retailer expectations, but only in Spain and Portugal were these declines significant. A number of retailer failed across Europe as a result of the tough trading conditions, but there were still winners. Sales grew strongly in Russia, value and luxury retailers performed well and some multichannel retailers reported excellent growth. In 2013, retail sales are forecast to recover slightly, resulting in flat growth for the year.
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