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Serviced apartments buck trend of gloom

ABOUT 600 units of serviced apartments are expected to be added in Shanghai per annum between 2009 and 2011.

The outlook for the local market remained positive despite a worldwide financial downturn, leading international property services provider Savills said yesterday.

"Demand for serviced apartments is still evident in Shanghai," said Neil Harvey, director of Savills Residence. "The recent economic crisis has resulted in some softening of rates but occupancies, especially in well-managed properties, remain good - on average around 74 percent."

Savills officially launched the Savills Residence division yesterday. The company said it expected to have 14 properties operating under the Savills Residence brand by the end of 2011, not only in Shanghai but also across the whole east China region.

The new division will provide services ranging from initial design, development and configuration of buildings through to their continued marketing, management and ongoing operations.

While the high-end leasing market has been affected by the economic downturn around the world, primarily due to reduced expatriates as well as slashed accommodation budgets, there are still opportunities for the serviced-apartment sector.

For instance, companies are rotating executives for shorter periods of time, maybe three months to six months as opposed to a full year which was the norm before.

Serviced apartments, therefore, provide an ideal option.

Shanghai Expo is also expected to provide a boost to occupancies as serviced apartments are used for those connected with the event or visiting for a few days.

There are now about 9,800 units of serviced apartments being operated in the city.


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