JLL: Improved market confidence with easing travel restrictions
Macau and Hong Kong, 22nd February 2023 – All the property sectors in Macau were quiet and weak in 2022, however, it’s believed that both the property leasing and sales markets will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, with the easing travel restrictions in Macau, the Mainland and Hong Kong. The retail market is expected to be the first to rebound, according to JLL in its 2022 Macau Year-end Property Market Review and Forecast.
According to the DICJ statistics, Macau’s gaming revenue recorded at MOP 42.12 billion in 2022, down 51.4% y-o-y. Impacted by the pandemic and issues with the VIP junkets, the revenue of the VIP market plunged by 64.4% y-o-y to MOP 10.15 billion in 2022, only a 24.1% of the city’s total gaming revenue.
Macau’s GDP totalled MOP 130.29 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, down 27.8% y-o-y. In terms of the expenditure-based GDP, all types of expenditure saw a drop: the fixed capital formation fell by 19.5% y-o-y; private consumption expenditure by 7.8% and government final consumption expenditure by 1.1%; imports and exports of goods dropped by 30.0% and 9.3% y-o-y respectively.
According to the DSEC statistics, Macau’s total visitor arrivals totalled approx. 5.7 million in 2022, down 26.0% y-o-y. Visitors from the Mainland made up 89.6% of Macau’s total visitor arrivals, while the number of Mainland visitors visited Macau under the Individual Traveller Scheme (ITS) accounted for about 32.9%. As of end 2022, the total supply of hotel rooms in Macau recorded at 37,490, down 1,247 rooms or 3.2% from end 2021. The cumulative occupancy rate of hotel rooms recorded at 38.2%, while the average length of stay of guests slightly increased to about 1.9 nights.
All industry sectors continued to see a decreasing number of expatriate employees in 2022. According to the DSEC statistics, the number of imported labour recorded at about 154,912 as of end 2022, a fall of 16,186 or about 9.5% from end 2021. The overall unemployment rate recorded at 3.7% while the underemployment rate recorded at about 6.9%. The overall median monthly income fell by 5.1% from end 2021 to MOP 15,000. The total resident deposit in Macau recorded at MOP 697.43 billion, up 4.5% from end 2021.
“Macau’s economy was severely impacted over the last three years due to the travel restrictions that were implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic being under control and the relaxation of travel restrictions in Macau, the Mainland and Hong Kong, Macau is expected to see an economic recovery and a rebound in market sentiment. In fact, the number of enquiries related to valuations we received earlier this year has returned to the pre-pandemic level. With the increasing visitor arrivals amid the reopening of borders, improved market sentiment and expectation that interest rate is about to peak, the retail and residential leasing markets are expected to see a rebound. However, in view of the external uncertainties and the supply chain disruptions, the outlook of the property investment market is still subject to the interest rate environment and how fast the Macau economy will recover,” says Mark Wong, Director of Valuation Advisory Services at JLL Macau.
According to the DSEC statistics, a total of 2,950 residential sales transactions were registered in 2022, down significantly 50.6% y-o-y. Last year, basically no new projects were launched. Investors and potential buyers tended to be cautious in view of the economic downturn and potential interest rate hikes. The volume of residential transactions shrank. Only 237 pre-sale transactions were recorded in 2022, accounting for only 8.0% of the overall residential transaction volume. The most notable project was Praia Park in Coloane, which recorded a total of 176 transactions.
In 2022, a total of 10 projects providing 971 new residential units with a total GFA of about 63,592 sqm were issued with pre-sale permits.
The capital values and rental values of residential properties continued to fall. In 2022, the rental values of high-end and mass-to-medium residential properties fell by 15.5% and 12.8% y-o-y respectively. The capital values of high-end and mass-to-medium residential properties fell by 9.6% and 10.1% y-o-y respectively, while yields of both recorded at 1.5%.
“Having been seriously hit by the pandemic for the past few years, the Macau property market is expected to pick up with more residential leasing transactions in light of the reopening of the borders. However, interest rates are likely to remain at the high level in the short term while unemployment and underemployment rates won’t improve overnight. Moreover, some relief measures like the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme will expire at the end of this year. Thus, we believe housing prices will only regain growth momentum next year or after. In the short to medium term, Macau will continue to face a lack in new private housing supply. The future new supply will be dominated by public housing; hopefully the new batch of economic housing supply and the Macau New Neighbourhood (MNN) in Hengqin will be launched this year. In the private market, two new projects located in Taipa and Coloane respectively providing a total of about 850 units were granted with pre-sale permits last year,” comments Oliver Tong, General Manager at JLL Macau and Zhuhai.
“The property market cooling measures that were implemented by the Macau government in 2010 and 2018 were not very effective due to factors such as past economic development and demand-supply issues. Driven by the free market mechanism, however, currently the residential transaction volume has dropped by 80% comparing with 2010, while property prices have also undergone significant adjustments. In fact, the government should consider adjust the relevant cooling measures according to the current economic and market conditions, as some of them are already outdated. Recently, the Mainland has gradually relaxed the restrictions on real estate in some cities, and at the same time urged to provide more financing support for the systemically important real estate companies. Though the pandemic in Macau has been under control and borders have reopened, it is crucial to implement appropriate measures to help alleviate the cash flow pressure faced by the SMEs, which in turn help boost the local economy,” adds Tong.
Residential market – 2023 forecast
|Capital values||Rental values|
|High-end residential||Remain stable||▲0% - 5%|
|Mass-to-medium residential||▲0% - 5%||▲5% - 10%|
In 2022, a total of 4,111 new incorporations registered in Macau, down 24.3% y-o-y. Impacted by the pandemic and the issues with the VIP market in the gaming sector, demand for office space contracted. There were office occupiers surrendering or downsizing their leasing space. According to JLL Macau Office Index, the rental values for the overall office market and Grade A office market fell by 11.2% and 8.3% y-o-y respectively in 2022. According to the DSEC statistics, the vacancy rate for the overall office market was about 12.4% as of the third quarter of 2022. During the pandemic, companies from the finance and insurance sectors are the most active in terms of office demand. An insurance company set up its first office in Macau last year, taking up an office space of over 7,000 sq ft.
In the sales market, the number of office transactions fell by 31.5% y-o-y to a total of 100 in 2022, as shown by the DSEC statistics. In terms of transaction value, it totalled about MOP 710 million, down 33.5% y-o-y. According to JLL Macau Office Index, the capital values for the overall office market and Grade A offices fell by 10.1% and 8.5% y-o-y respectively. The yields for the overall office market and Grade A office market recorded at 2.7% and 3.1% respectively.
“Macau’s office leasing market was very weak with rising vacancy rate in 2022 as the local economy was badly hit by the pandemic while the government authorities gradually moving out of their existing offices that were rented from the private market. With the borders of Macau fully reopen in 2023, the city’s business activities with the Mainland and Hong Kong will resume and it will help boost Macau’s office demand. However, with the completion of the new government building that is in the pipeline, the overall vacancy rate is expected to remain under upward pressure though the reopening of borders will help generate new office leasing demand. Vacancy rates of offices in NAPE District remains high; Grade A offices in Nam Van District are more resilient but the office space available for lease in the Treasure Island Resort World development will increase the Grade A office supply in the area. Vicky Plaza in Rua do Campo is available for lease again after the government authorities moving out in end 2022 and has already achieved an occupancy rate of 50% with its attractive location and decor as well as flexible leasing terms and conditions. The co-working space in Nantong Commercial Building, jointly built by Da Heng Qin Macau and BEEPLUS, is expected to be put into operation in mid 2023, creating new competition to the Macau office market,” says Matt Kou, Senior Manager, Leasing at JLL Macau.
Office market – 2023 forecast
|Capital values||Rental values|
|Overall||Remain stable||Remain stable|
|Grade A office||Remain stable||Remain stable|
According to the DSEC statistics, the total retail sales recorded at MOP 42.83 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, down 22.8% y-o-y. The proportion of tourist spending in total retail sales recorded at 21.0%. Impacted by the pandemic, weak economy and decreased consumer demand, the retail sales of most trade categories recorded a drop. Out of which Chinese Food Products, Department Stores, Watches, Clocks and Jewellery each saw a fall of over 30%. In contrast, categories related to daily necessities like Supermarkets and Domestic Fuels registered a growth of about 10%. We also found that people’s consumption habits have changed after the pandemics, with more people turning to online shopping, while offline consumption focuses on experiential entertainment, services and F&B.
In 2022, a total of 357 retail property sales transactions were recorded, down 8.9% y-o-y. According to JLL Macau Retail Index, the capital values of top-tier retail properties fell by 14.3% y-o-y in in 2022, while rental values fell by 15.0% y-o-y. As of end 2022, the yield of top-tier retail properties recorded at about 1.9%. During the year, a few sales transactions of top-tier retail properties were recorded, with rental yields of about 2.5%. Scheduled to open in end 2023, the Treasure Island Resort World Shopping Centre in Nam Van District has pre-leased 70% of its space. It reflects international retailers’ confidence in Macau.
“The future development of Macau will focus on diversified tourism and experiential entertainment, as the natures and consumption preferences of tourists visiting Macau have changed. The recovery of visitor arrivals after the border reopening is faster and more than expected, thus hopefully the retail leasing market will see a more significant rebound. Enquiries about the top-tier shop units close to the tourist areas have increased significantly right after the border reopening, mainly from local retailers selling souvenirs or operating a pharmacy. Retail rentals have returned to roughly 50% of the pre-pandemic levels. Large-scale companies adopt a wait-and-see approach to observe the market conditions for a few more months before making any expansion decisions, as issues such as shortage of manpower and rising costs still exist,” adds Tong.
Retail market – 2023 forecast
|Capital values||Rental values|
|Top-tier retail||▲0% - 5%||▲10% - 15%|
From left to right: Kary Ip, Property Manager, Property and Asset Management; Mark Wong, Director of Valuation Advisory Services Macau; Oliver Tong, General Manager, Macau and Zhuhai; and Matt Kou, Senior Manager, Leasing Macau
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $19.4 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 102,000 as of September 30, 2022. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.