By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Manila rose to the 8th spot this year from 12th in 2019 as most dynamic cities among 130 urban centers studied by the latest City Momentum Index.
Now on its seventh year, the City Momentum Index measures the socio-economic and commercial property metrics of world’s urban centers by world’s leading real estate management and consultancy firm JLL. The Index identifies a number of key growth drivers, including talent attraction, the expansion of innovation hubs and better urban planning, that cities can employ to meet the challenges faced by rapid momentum.
Indian cities Hyderabad and Bengaluru maintained their ranking as top two most dynamic cities followed Ho Chi Minh City, Nairobi, Chennai, Delhi and Hanoi.
Manila rose to the 8th spot this year from 12th in 2019 and 18th in 2018 as most dynamic cities. Manila, which represents the third Southeast Asian city in the Global Top 20, was cited for its advantageous demographics, a robust domestic economy and a skilled talent base are supporting a dynamic real estate market.
The country’s Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry is driving office net absorption, as the sector moves into higher-value activities such as animation, gaming and healthcare.
Metro Manila is also undergoing a major infrastructure push to alleviate chronic congestion and unbalanced development by building out its metro and rail networks.
In terms of real estate, Manila ranked 48th, with prime rental growth of +3.8% p.a. average for 2020-2022 (19th globally), office net absorption of 7.3% (% of stock, 14th globally), and hotel construction of 15.6% (% of stock, 14th globally).
According to JLL, the results show a continued shift in global influence from west to east, with Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese cities dominating the top positions. India – with seven cities in the top 20, the most of any country – leads the 2020 Index, despite last year’s slowdown of the nation’s economy.
This strength is driven by locations in the country’s southern states, as Hyderabad (1st) and Bengaluru (2nd) retain their status as the top two cities for short-term momentum.
“India’s fastest growing cities have been drawing significant levels of interest from overseas investors, who are looking to tap into the country’s growing economy,” explained Stuart Crow, CEO Capital Markets, JLL Asia Pacific.
“We are starting to see the fruits of the Indian government’s ongoing focus on improving infrastructure and making it easier to do business. Despite a slowing pace of economic growth, these structural reforms bring more market transparency, which boosts investment into real estate. In particular, India’s logistics real estate sector is gaining favor due to e-commerce growth and changes in consumption habits.”
Meanwhile, China’s role in driving global momentum continues to be significant; one-fifth of the global top 20 cities are in China. Shanghai stands alone as the only city to feature in the top 20 throughout the past seven years.
Jeremy Kelly, Director of Cities Research at JLL, said: “The remarkable dynamism in the emerging Asian economies is proof that economic reforms, business growth and infrastructure investment can drive the expansion of industry, significantly in the tech sector, and facilitate a start-up culture. This is now being repeated the world over, as geographical diversity looks to be returning to the Index.”
Momentum in Chinese cities Chongqing (11th), Wuhan (13th), Hangzhou (15th) and Shanghai (17th) is driven by a young talented population attracted to dynamic, innovative urban centers. Although just 40 years old, Shenzhen (10th) has become a magnet for several of China’s leading tech giants that are headquartered in the city, creating a vibrant tech start-up scene and a hub for innovation. Young talent from across China have taken note; two-thirds of Shenzhen’s residents are aged 20-40 – the highest proportion of any large city in the world.
Fast growth can also exacerbate issues caused by climate change. With several cities, including Ho Chi Minh City (3rd), Manila (8th), Shanghai (17th) and Mumbai (20th), at risk from rising sea levels and intensifying weather patterns caused by climate change, the real estate industry has an important role to play in helping fast-growth cities transition to a more sustainable model of urban development. Not only are emerging cities more susceptible to the effects of climate change, they are also facing the most intense pressure to change.
Several cities in the top 20 stand out as they transform their urban environments in pursuit of a low-carbon future. In India, Hyderabad is looking to technology to reduce the demand for air conditioning with cool roofs that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat.