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Hong Kong the World’s Leading Skyscraper City, but Rents in New York Grow Faster

New York and London (04/22/2015)

9:00 AM

Skyscraper prime office rents in New York have dramatically increased by 20% to hit $150.00 per sq ft since July 2014, outperforming the leading Asian skyscraper city, Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong still boasts the world's highest skyscraper office rents at $250.50 per sq ft.

The figures were reported in the latest Skyscraper Index from Knight Frank and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which ranks the world's cities as centres for high rise offices and homes.

New York rental values have boomed as skyscraper development has increased, with towers proving popular workplaces for the expanding digital and creative firms in the city, as well as financial and professional firms.

However, Hong Kong's large lead in rents reflects a low vacancy rate and constrained CBD area.

Skyscraper Prime Office Rents

  City Prime Rent (USD/SF/Year) % Growth H2 2014
1 Hong Kong $250.50 11.3%
2 New York $150.00 20.0%
3 Tokyo $124.00 4.8%
4 London $108.75 7.7%
5 San Francisco $97.00 2.1%
6 Signapore $94.25 6.1%
7 Sydney $91.75 0.8%
8 Moscow $90.00 -3.0%
9 Los Angeles $73.00 10.6%
10 Shanghai $68.75 2.9%
11 Beijing $67.50 -1.2%
12 Chicago $65.00 8.3%
13 Paris (La Defense) $61.00 -1.8%
14 Frankfurt $58.25 13.2%
15 Mumbai $51.50 5.1%
16 Dubai $43.50 0.0%
17 Kuala Lumpur $37.75 20.9%
18 Seoul $33.25 9.2%

The Skyscraper Index

  City Score
1 Hong Kong 131.4
2 New York 126.6
3 Tokyo 116.8
4 London 112.3
5 San Francisco 112.2
6 Los Angeles 102.9
7 Sydney 100.2
8 Chicago 98.5
9 Shanghai 95.3
10 Singapore 94
11 Frankfurt 93.6
12 Seoul 90.1
13 Paris 84.8
14 Beijing 75.6
15 Kuala Lumpur 64.4
16 Dubai 62.6
17 Mumbai 55.2
18 Moscow 50.8

Note: The Skyscraper Index ranks cities according to a score system based on a range of criteria including skyscraper office rents and yields, the spread offered by investment yields compared to national bonds, the number of high rises built, and growth prospects for the city.

(Source: Knight Frank Research, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Research Institute)

William Beardmore-Gray, head of global leasing services at Knight Frank, said: "A high quality office environment is an essential part of building a business. With the economy improving, firms want offices that provide an inspiring place to work and demonstrate they value their employees."

"Today the rent paid on an office workstation is usually less than the fee paid to a head hunter to replace a person who leaves. So companies want to use their offices as a way to make staff feel they are valued and important. You achieve that when you put workers in the building that appears as the backdrop during the stock market report on the evening news."

James Roberts, chief economist at Knight Frank, said: "We are now seeing the western cities erode the lead of big Asian centres in tower office rents. For premium floors with views rents are rising in Hong Kong, but they are increasing much faster in New York. Similarly London is closing the gap on Tokyo."

"Economic growth prospects for this year favour locations like New York and London, so I see these cities stepping up competition on the Asian centres. Many people like to say that the balance in the global economy is shifting from west to east, but certainly skyscraper rents provide another indicator that shows this is not entirely the case."

About Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently-owned offices, NGKF's 12,000 professionals operate from more than 330 offices in established and emerging property markets on six continents.

With roots dating back to 1929, NGKF's strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. NGKF's full-service platform comprises BGC's real estate services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, landlords, investors and developers a wide range of services including leasing; capital markets services, including investment sales, debt placement, appraisal, and valuation services; commercial mortgage brokerage services; as well as corporate advisory services, consulting, project and development management, and property and corporate facilities management services. For further information, visit www.ngkf.com.

NGKF is a part of BGC Partners, Inc., a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets. BGC's common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol (NASDAQ: BGCP). BGC also has an outstanding bond issuance of Senior Notes due June 15, 2042, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (NYSE: BGCA). BGC Partners is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard W. Lutnick. For more information, please visit www.bgcpartners.com.