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“It’s a jungle out there”: Auckland’s mixed bag retail property market

The retail property sector in Auckland has ended the year in a mixed position, according to data gathered by Bayley’s Real Estate.

Positive impacts such as the stellar year enjoyed by many in the retail industry, as well as complications evolving from the lack of CBD shoppers and supply chain disruptions hurting the sector overall, have left the property market in a difficult spot.

And the playing field is far from level across the sector, with sentiment and confidence waxing and waning according to geographic location and business type, according to Bayleys’ national director of retail sales and leasing Chris Beasleigh.

“It’s been rough going for many – particularly those businesses heavily dependent on international visitors and students, and those reliant on fully-occupied office towers in Auckland’s core, as a work-from-home ethos continues to encourage employees away from central workplaces,” said Beasleigh.

“It’s a jungle out there, frankly, and the pressures on Auckland CBD businesses in particular is immense.”

According to Bayleys’ research, retail vacancy rates across the Auckland region are sitting at an average of eight per cent – twice the level recorded in 2019 – and Central Auckland’s vacancy has hit 9.44 per cent.

However, the opening and success of innovative new retail precincts, such as Commercial Bay and Westfield Newmarket show there is still an appetite for retail – Kiwis are just after retail with a difference.

“The success of these destination precincts has come at the expense of strip retail, but that’s a dynamic that needs to find a new settling point and it’s yet to be seen what further large-scale retail development will occur in the changed business environment,” said Beasleigh.

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