Sydney, Melbourne retail markets busier than ever: Colliers

Sydney, Melbourne retail markets busier than ever: Colliers
Sydney, Melbourne retail markets busier than ever: Colliers


The retail sector continues to thrive in Sydney. 

Low interest rates and Australia’s economic rotation has favoured the south eastern states with consumers, retailers and landlords all enjoying sector tailwinds through the second half of 2016. Unsurprisingly therefore, investor demand in the Sydney region is high, reflected in overall transactional volumes and the associated shift lower in yields.

In many instances, Sydney holds the lowest yield per retail asset class, and the potential for further compression is high, especially within the CBD sector. Strong investor appetite is supported by rental growth as infrastructure development and population growth facilitate consumer demand. 



The Melbourne retail market has been busier than ever, particularly on the shopping centre front. Institutional investors have been actively managing their portfolios, reinvesting capital into the development of prime assets with an aim to boost income streams and lift capital values. More than 377,000sqm

of shopping centre supply is expected to come online in Victoria through to 2021, boosted by projects such as Chadstone Shopping Centre, West eld Knox, Highpoint Shopping Centre, and West eld Doncaster.

This activity has also translated across the CBD, where landlords have been adding value to their assets to keep up with the competition from their suburban counterparts. We therefore expect rental growth to continue across all major retail markets in Melbourne in the next 12-24 months, as redevelopment activity and the growing presence of international brands continue to spur tenant demand. 


Rundle Mall has seen vacancy increase slightly in the last 12 months, with rents also which has reduced the average slightly. Sales volumes are well below last year, but this is due to two major assets in Rundle Mall transacting last year. Demand for assets in the precinct remain strong which has resulted in yields tightening over the last six months. New development is mostly outside Rundle Mall with developments proposed for the Central Arcade in the Central market and further investment in the public realm for key laneways in the CBD.


Retail vacancy in the CBD, particularly in the Hay and Murray Street malls, remained relatively low in Perth. This has seen CBD market rents out-perform Neighbourhood and Sub Regional centres, where rents have declined due to softer retail turnover growth, easing tenant demand and increased stock levels. This, along with a moderating population growth, has created more uncertainty for the timing of mooted major centre expansions. However, both population and nominal retail turnover growth are still forecast to grow, even if per capita spend continues to moderate.

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Sydney, Melbourne retail markets busier than ever: Colliers


The Brisbane CBD continues to evolve into a new world city as part of the Brisbane City Council’s centre plan. As a result of Council’s works and a state economy that has proved to remain resilient, a number of private and public groups are investing substantial resources in Brisbane’s CBD. As a result of the developing vibrancy of the CBD there are major international brands along with bespoke operators entering the CBD, contributing to a positive feedback cycle which is expected to continue. 

New Zealand 

Eight years on from the global nancial crisis, many retailers in New Zealand have streamlined their operations, ramped up their sales campaigns and, in some cases, rationalised their space to meet the changing demand of the new consumer. New Zealand is also receiving more enquiry from international retailers and a select few national retailers are looking to expand their footprint with a more targeted approach. For these retailers, the new strategies being employed - although challenging - are working. 

Positive underlying retail conditions have given buoyancy to property leasing enquiry and activity. We are seeing occupancy highs in many locations - albeit retailers sticking to basics are the winners. Investors remain competitive and attracted to retail property due to the attractive gap between returns and debt costs in the current low interest rate environment.

Daniel Lees is director of director of research, Colliers, and can be contacted here.

Shopping Centre Commercial Investment

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