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Politics and monetary policy to shape property sector

Politics and monetary policy to shape property sector in 2020

December 19, 2019

The general election and monetary policy measures will be key features influencing New Zealand’s commercial property sector in 2020, a new report suggests.

Colliers International’s last monthly report of the year traditionally covers predictions for the property market in the year ahead.

Chris Dibble, Director of Research and Communications at Colliers, says the new report makes 19 predictions spanning all the main asset classes.

“Political, economic and environmental concerns will be among the key themes in 2020. Ongoing supply constraints and low vacancy rates will also continue to influence rents and property values.

“However, the overall outlook is positive. We see few signs that this year’s stellar run of commercial property transactions won’t continue into next year.

“A number of significant property deals are forecast to transact early in 2020, which will likely set the scene for another buoyant year.”

Colliers’ predictions relating to the overall market – as well as the commercial property asset classes of office, retail and industrial – are summarised below.

All sectors

Fiscal policy: While we may see a lower or stable official cash rate in 2020, interest rate margins are likely to rise as well as term deposit rates. This may see more properties come to market as owners look to take advantage of the strong gains made in recent years.

Elections: As is typical in an election year, there will be a period of disruption before and after the 2020 election in New Zealand and the United States as people absorb the political promises and the eventual outcomes. Those focussed on long-term performance will benefit the most.

Infrastructure spending: The New Zealand Government intends to take advantage of low lending rates to increase infrastructure spending. This will likely boost economic activity in 2020 and provide further support for high employment rates, enhancing occupier fundamentals.

Environmental, social and governance initiatives: The property industry will benefit from measuring the sustainability and societal impacts of the sector. As is apparent abroad, investigation and implementation of recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures could also feature.


Quality and supply drivers: More tenants nationally will search for higher quality, more flexible, productive, well-priced and environmentally sustainable premises. Many main cities will need more supply, but construction sector complexities and constraints will limit capacity to deliver.

Rental and price growth: Positive rental growth and solid sales activity are likely to continue in the office sector in 2020. The biggest hurdles the sector is likely to face are rising operating costs and suitable stock for investors to purchase.


Vacancy and supply constraints: With low industrial vacancy rates in the main centres and many regions, there will likely be an increase in demand for land and the continuation of new-build construction. The markets that have delivery constraints and can’t cater to demand within a suitable timeframe will have the greatest level of price growth.

Secondary stock on the rise: The industrial sector’s resilience in the hard times and strong performance in the good times is why it is a favoured asset class for many investors globally. Rental growth and firm yields for prime property are likely to continue in 2020. This will lead to a resurgence in investor appetite for secondary premises where greater financial rewards could eventuate in 2020.


Emerging retail gap: There will likely be a growing divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ as customers become increasingly selective in their spending. Flagship shopping centres, large format retail, and easily accessible, centralised destination strip retail will remain popular amongst consumers and continue to report positive metrics for owners. Others will find conditions testing.

‘Big data’ impacts: Data and technological advancements will play an important role in retail. There will be a rise in capturing customer data to provide greater levels of personalisation and improving the customer journey. Further, if a 5G network is successfully implemented in 2020, it could lead to new initiatives to explore. These include more immersive customer experiences, stock and delivery efficiencies and a smoother transition between online and offline purchasing.

The full list of predictions – which also cover the hotel, residential, and rural and agribusiness sectors – is available at


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