Christchurch retail market snapshot Q1 2021

Despite the sector facing substantial challenges, CBD retail vacancy fell just 80 bps in 2H20, while suburban retail vacancy rose 110 bps.

February 24, 2021

Despite the sector facing substantial challenges during the COVID-19 recovery period, recent trends of fluctuating vacancy for Christchurch retail continued in 2H20 with a 40 bps fall to 7.5%. Specifically, CBD retail vacancy fell 80 bps from 9.0% to 8.2% in 2H20, while suburban retail vacancy rose 110 bps from 4.1% to 5.2%. Retail trading outperformed expectations for the latter half of 2020, with a healthy GDP response in 3Q20. Nevertheless, retailers are looking to evolve to a more experiential offer to weather economic uncertainty.


With stock completions continuing to normalise across Christchurch's commercial precincts, we recorded a negative net completion of 464 sqm over 2H20. There were a number of significant withdrawals in the suburban retail precinct, which offset modest completions in the CBD. As is the case in Auckland and Wellington, most retail developments in the Christchurch pipeline are minor components of buildings predominantly centered around other uses (typically office). With many of these projects put on hold due to COVID, retail under construction fell over the half by ~4000 sqm.

Asset performance

Rents across the Christchurch retail precincts were supported by a strong domestic spending response and healthy GDP performance over 3Q20. Average prime and secondary net face rents remained at 3Q20 levels; for CBD it was $575 psm and $325 psm respectively, meanwhile for suburban it was $375 psm and $220 psm respectively. We recorded yield compression across most Christchurch retail sectors in 4Q20 with average prime yields falling to 6.25% for both CBD and Suburban precincts. Average prime suburban capital values also rose 4.0% to $6,000 psm in Q4.

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