Industrial sector takes global hit

In Asia, sales of industrial properties fell 95% compared to a year earlier, while in the US the vacancy rate for industrial buildings rose to 12.2% - the highest level since 1989.

The real estate industrial sector has been hit hard by the global economic downturn, with sales transactions in Asia down 95 percent over the past year.

Research from Richard Ellis, reveals that Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong suffered some of the largest declines in overall property sale transactions in the first three months of 2009 compared to a year earlier. The industrial sector was the worst hit, the report added, with 95 percent fewer deals compared to the first quarter of 2008.

Office deals in the region slid 89 percent in the first quarter compared to 12 months earlier.

However, the industrial sector is feeling the pain globally – with vacancy levels in the US at their highest levels since 1989.

CBRE’s global market view report said the industrial sector saw its sixth consecutive quarter of rising vacancy rates in the first three months of 2009 – reaching a decade-high of 12.2 percent.

The absorption rate stood at negative 92.8 million square feet of industrial space in the first three months of this year, CBRE said, compared to 75.5 million square feet in the second quarter of 2001 – the last previous quarterly low. Negative absorption means more increasing amounts of space is becoming available than is being leased or bought.

The office vacancy rate in the US also increased 70 basis points in the first quarter, rising to 14.7 percent  – its highest level since 1991.