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Hong Kong pips NYC as home to most expensive high street in the world

Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall

With average rents reaching US$2671 per square foot (sqf) per year, Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay has overtaken New York City’s Upper 5th Avenue, where average rents are a mere US$2250 per sqf per year, as the most expensive high street in the world.

Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall is the world’s seventh most expensive retail precinct, with rents remaining steady at $14,000 per sqm, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s annual ranking of the top 65 high streets around the world based on one entry per country.

The real estate company said that strong foot traffic and increased demand for experiential shopping has supported rents on Pitt Street Mall, where most retailers continue to trade strongly, particularly in the high-end luxury category.

Pitt Street ranks as the third most expensive retail precinct in the Asia Pacific region, behind Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and Tokyo’s Ginza district. Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall, where average rents reach $7000 per sqm, climbed from sixth to fifth, and Brisbane’s Queen street ranks eighth, with retail rents averaging $4500 per sqm.

Despite rents in some parts of the Australian market softening, most notably in CBD strip retail areas, rents in higher footfall locations such as Pitt Street and Bourke Street have held firm, Cushman & Wakefield said.

“Australia has firmly maintained its position as host to one of the world’s top ten most expensive retail streets, as rents in higher footfall locations such as Pitt and Bourke Street have remained steady over the past 12 months,” Matt Hudson, Cushman & Wakefield’s national director of retail leasing, said.

“Encouragingly, demand for large stores has been strong. There are various examples in CBD locations where multiple smaller units have been consolidated into a larger flagship store, in order to drive sales and improve staff efficiency.

“A number of key locations are under development and currently seeking large scale flagship tenants, which is providing heightened competition for key shopping malls which do not offer the street or brand exposure of a flagship location.”

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