Australian Retail, Office Prices Fall as Rents Decline, NAB Says

Australian retail and office property prices fell in the three months to Dec. 31 as rents declined, a private survey showed.

Retail property capital values dropped 1.4 percent in the last quarter of 2012, while industrial property values slipped 1.2 percent and offices weakened 0.6 percent, according to a National Australia Bank Ltd. survey released today. Rents eased in all markets in the period, led by a 2.1 percent decline in retail, NAB said.

Retail sales unexpectedly fell for a third month in December, the longest stretch of declines in 13 years, a government report showed Feb. 6. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the benchmark interest rate to 3 percent in December, matching a half-century low, in a bid to spur non-mining areas of the economy.

Office values will rise by 0.1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013, and industrial real estate will climb 0.3 percent, while retail will drop 0.2 percent, the survey of respondents’ expectations showed. City center hotels fared best in the three months to Dec. 31, rising 1.7 percent, with prices expected to climb 3 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013.

NAB’s commercial property index -- which measures capital value and rental pricing expectations based on a survey of 270 real estate brokers, property developers and investors -- rose to minus 17 last quarter from minus 19 in the previous three months.

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