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New Zealand industrial property market review for 2019 and forecast for 2020

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Colliers International Research presents a three-part review of the key commercial property sectors

Globally, many favour the defensive characteristics and positive aspects supporting the growth of the industrial sector, and New Zealand is no different.

At the heart of the industrial sector, goods-producing industries such as manufacturing and construction now account for around one-fifth of New Zealand’s $300 billion economy, according to Statistics New Zealand. However, this is boosted by other services such as transport, warehousing and postal services, an industry showing another year of growth. Additional depth comes from rising public infrastructure spend.

2019 Industrial National Review and 2020 Forecast

Employment levels in the industrial sector are solid, and latest forecasts from MBIE show further strong gains over the next few years. This supports the absorption of industrial land and buildings.

In the North Island, the ‘Golden Triangle’ between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga will continue to rise as a popular occupier, owner-occupier and investor destination. The interconnection of population, ports and infrastructure is a strong driver for the sector. Land availability at suitable prices to be profitable was an ongoing battle in 2019 requiring plenty of careful consideration.

Experienced, well-funded stakeholders are looking to capitalise in this space and forge on with developments. Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua, Palmerston North and New Plymouth are showing positive signs in leasing activity. Prime premises are understandably the most desired, creating hotspots of activity. New construction is apparent, but typically caters for precommitted enquiry in the larger markets.

Wellington’s industrial sector continues to forge ahead, but more new-build activity is needed to alleviate supply shortages. Access to new precincts could reduce the imbalances, but new infrastructure connections are needed.

In the South Island, Christchurch’s industrial sector’s ongoing recalibration provides a more balanced demand and supply profile which has seen rent remain relatively steady over the past few years. The lack of available development sites in Queenstown and Dunedin as well as the pressure on existing sites continue to push rents higher.

From a sales perspective, the industrial sector accounts for approximately 50 per cent of all commercial and industrial sales activity annually in New Zealand. This provides investors with plenty of entry and exit opportunities. Further, rising rents, limited incentives and pent-up investor demand are driving average prime yields down, now typically ranging between 5 per cent and 6.5 per cent, but some are below 5 per cent. Purchaser interest is growing for well-positioned, add-value secondary premises.

Colliers International Research’s Investor Confidence Survey shows respondent expectations for industrial next year remain as strong as ever. Therefore, the outlook under current conditions showcases another positive year ahead.

Read the full series:
New Zealand office property market - 2019 review and 2020 forecast
New Zealand retail property market - 2019 review and 2020 forecast

Read the 2019 series here:
2019 Commercial Property Review - New Zealand industrial market
2019 Commercial Property Review - New Zealand office market
2019 Commercial Property Review - New Zealand retail market

Related Experts

Chris Dibble

National Director | Colliers Partnerships, Research & Communications


Chris Dibble oversees three key business units at Colliers New Zealand - Colliers Partnerships, Research and Communications.

Colliers Partnership priorities focus on support initiatives that drive collaboration, best practice learning, cost efficiencies, and growth opportunities across the wider Colliers franchise network.

As the head of research for Colliers, Chris oversees the collaboration and delivery of award-winning research reports. He is a regular presenter and market commentator, often discussing the latest insights on current and future property trends.

Chris also leads  PR and communications for Colliers. He works with in-house and external writers to curate an audience-focused content delivery strategy. 

With over 15 years of experience and university qualifications in economics, geography, marketing and property, Chris provides a multi-disciplinary approach that assists a broad range of clients and internal stakeholders.

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Greg Goldfinch

National Director | Industrial

Auckland South

Greg specialises in the mid to upper end of the Industrial sale and leasing markets. He joined Colliers International in 2004, coming from a policing background. He quickly established strong relationships within the industrial market and has worked exclusively for the likes of Fisher & Paykel, The Warehouse, Freedom Furniture, Fletchers, NZ Police, NZ Guardian Trust, Goodyear Dunlop NZ Ltd and Mercedes-Benz to name a few.

Greg has been the lead broker on nearly all of the largest transactions in the industrial property market over the last ten years. Greg has completed three of the largest industrial sales ever in the New Zealand market. He is a regular top 10 broker for Colliers across NZ having transacted in excess of $6billion worth of industrial real estate in his time with Colliers.

In 2013, 2019 and 2020 Greg was awarded the Commercial and Industrial Salesperson of the Year Award by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and was runner up in 2018. Greg was Colliers International’s top salesperson in New Zealand across all sectors in In 2010, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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