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Development of shopping centres will decline to a low point in 2011
26 Mar, 2010, Europe
The rate of development of new shopping centre space in Europe slowed considerably in 2009. It is unlikely that development levels will pick up before 2012 at the earliest, says real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield in its new European Shopping Centre Development report.
2009 saw the sharpest decrease in new space in almost 15 years, with around 7.4 million sq m of new shopping centre space completed, a 19% fall on 2008. 2010 should see around 6.1 million sq m being completed. In 2011 shopping centre development is expected to hit its lowest level in seven years with around 5.0 million sq m due to be completed, 46% down on the peak of around 9.3 million in 2008.
However, should the European economy bounce back quicker than expected, Cushman & Wakefield says that a large number of shelved shopping centre projects could be revived relatively quickly, boosting the development pipeline.
After losing its number one position in 2009 to Turkey in the country ranking of shopping centre pipeline space, Russia once again dominates Europe, with 2.5 million sq m of space in development and scheduled to open by the end of 2011. Romania has had one of the most significant falls in the ranking from seventh to tenth place, as a large number of pipeline schemes have been put on hold. Development is expected to slow to 130,000 sq m in 2011, compared with the peak of around 750,000 sq m in 2008.
In Western Europe, Italy, France and Spain saw the most new space being completed in 2009. The Italian market has been especially resilient, with just around 20% of its 2010-2015 pipe line so far being put on hold. It currently has just over 1 million sq m of new space under construction. Development activity has also increased significantly in France with around 880,000 sq m of space currently under construction. The largest shopping centre under construction is developer Westfield’s Stratford City at 186,500 sq m located alongside the 2012 Olympic Park and due to open in 2011.
During 2009, France also moved into the top five of the new shopping centre completions table, with around 530,000 sq m delivered. The Netherlands also experienced a high level of completions during the year with more than double the 10 year average completed over the year.
Alexander Colpaert, retail researcher at Cushman & Wakefield said: “Whilst forecasting completion levels beyond 2011 is difficult given the uncertain market conditions, it is clear that much will depend on the pace of the economic recovery across Europe as well as the appetite for risk taking among investors and funders. Emerging markets such as Russia, Turkey and Poland will most likely lead the way in terms of a recovery in shopping centre development activity, with favourable demographics and healthy demand from (international) retailers for the best space in prime locations. In many mature, western European markets the focus will be on the regeneration of existing retail destinations as the polarisation between prime and secondary locations continues to increase.
“There are a large number of shelved projects throughout Europe which could be reinitiated in the short term. For example, in the UK alone around 1.2 million sq m shopping centre space is currently on hold. When the economic environment improves and finance eases, such projects could boost the medium term pipeline significantly. Whilst there will be a delay before new schemes come on-stream, suggesting supply shortages in some markets over the next 2-3 years, investor interest in development is steadily re-awakening and the best schemes are unlikely to remain stalled for long.”
Charles Slater, partner and head of retail services Cushman & Wakefield Russia, said: “Despite the dramatic slowdown in development activity in Russia the pipeline continues to be robust and tops the table in terms of announced projects. Going forward there are positive forecasts for Russia’s economy this year and 2011. Market fundamentals point to a returning of the retailer occupational markets which will help fuel developer’s appetite to again push into the many untapped cities across the regions of Russia.”
Razvan Gheorghe, partner and managing director, Cushman & Wakefield Romania, said: “Job insecurity during 2009 in the private sector coupled with the 2010 Government layoff program did not help consumer confidence or boost spending or borrowing. This has therefore affected the development of new shopping centres. We believe that the upturn in development will take place only after improvement in the jobs market and after banks regain confidence in the real estate sector. In our opinion, 2010 will be a year of preparatory work for future developments, with completion timed in the years ahead when the Romanian economy should be in recovery mode.”