“The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic and changing consumer behaviors has reshaped the future of the logistics industry by exposing global supply chain vulnerabilities and accelerating technological advances. As a result, a variety of global trends have emerged, propelling the sector forward in new ways,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Jason Tolliver, Investor Lead, Logistics & Industrial Services, Americas.
In broad terms, the regional industrial market remains resilient. Out of the 34 key markets covered within Asia Pacific, 15 are considered landlord-favorable with six being tenant favorable and the remaining 13 in neutral territory. The status quo has largely been maintained year-to-date, with only Singapore showing any significant change to becoming more tenant friendly, though this is restricted to certain parts of the industrial market. This is in stark contrast to the office sector within the region, which has seen a much more definitive shift towards more tenant-friendly conditions.
“Industrial rents have shown steady growth in the year-to-date in key Indian and South East Asian markets where rents in Delhi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kolkata, Jakarta and Hanoi have all increased by over 2.5%. Rents have been held broadly flat in Australia while they have seen a slight uptick of 2% in the Chinese logistics market, due to boosted demand from online shopping soaking up some of the vacancy,” said Dr. Dominic Brown, Global Head of Demographic Insights, APAC-lead for Cushman & Wakefield. “Markets like Hong Kong and Singapore rank second and fifth respectively on the most expensive list, despite being under great downward pressure from suffering weaker re-export demand. Hyderabad and Ahmedabad top the least expensive markets list, along with six other Indian markets.”
“In Japan, vacancies in the Kanto region have fallen further and liquidity remains low," said Hiroshi Tsuruoka, Cushman & Wakefield’s Senior Manager, Logistics and Industrial Services, Japan. “Market conditions are favorable to owners, as asking rents continue to rise moderately. In the Kansai region, the supply-demand balance is generally in equilibrium, and asking rents are flat. There are noticeable trends, such as soaring prices of land for development and diversification of logistics locations.”
The North American industrial market experienced growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc across the globe, as well as more local disruptions including hurricanes and wildfires. It has proven once again to be one of the most resilient asset types. Although North American new supply outpaced demand for the second year in a row, with 378 million square feet (msf) of completions, demand came in at 287 msf, surpassing 200 msf for the seventh consecutive year.
“COVID-19-induced lockdowns did cause a slight slowdown in demand in the first half of the year compared to prior years. However, even this combined with the large volume of supply has still not been enough to fully satiate tenant demand and to allow vacancy rates to begin to rise significantly,” said Tolliver. “Toward the end of 2020, North American industrial vacancy stood at 4.9%—just a 30 bps increase over 2019 and Canadian markets registered the lowest vacancy rates at 2.5% and Mexico City following at 3.0%.”
“Europe’s logistics sector is grappling with supply constraints, stemming from a combination of a lack of developable land and strict planning regimes. In contrast to pre-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when speculative development represented roughly 80% of new construction, post-GFC has been characterized by predominantly built-to-suit development that has led to severe supply shortages in most of Europe’s core logistics markets. As speculative construction resumed post-lockdowns more product came to market, pent up demand was released and leasing activity accelerated,” said Lisa Graham, Head of EMEA Industrial Research for Cushman & Wakefield.
Based on year-end data, vacancy continues to trend downward in most of Europe’s key logistics hubs. Vacancy of approximately 4% in Dutch and UK markets and vacancy hovering around 2% in Rotterdam, Lyon, Prague and Budapest, points to a severe lack of stock that, so far, a rise in speculative construction has been unable to alleviate. Furthermore, increased demand from e-retailers and 3PLs, as they expand their logistics footprint, has offset any vacancies created through tenant bankruptcies during 2020.
“The global logistics sector not only showed resilience during the strict first half lockdowns, but went on to benefit from consumer and business reactions to the pandemic during second half. Broadening e-commerce, both geographically and by product range, will be a key driver of new space demand over the next decade,” added Dr. Brown. “In a post-COVID-19 world, there will be greater focus on using real estate to leverage cost across the whole supply chain, better positioning businesses as they navigate a B2C business model, reshoring, inventory management, labor issues, transportation and ESG. Together, these factors will govern location strategy.”
About Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 50,000 employees in over 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2020, the firm had revenue of $7.8 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com or follow @CushWake on Twitter.