[SEOUL] Lee Sang Kun doesn’t need to read the real-estate section to know South Korea’s financial hub is emptying.
Mr Lee, 65, who operates a coffee shop in Seoul’s main financial district, said his regular customers have been disappearing for most of the past year. First it was the new hires sent to fetch lattes for the office, then the more senior people vanished as local brokerages’ headcounts fell to the lowest since 2007.
The office vacancy rate in Yeouido, home of the stock exchange and known locally as Korea’s Wall Street, soared to 24.8 per cent in the second quarter, the highest in Savills plc data going back to 2002, as brokerages shed staff and shut branches on falling profits.
By comparison, office vacancies in Manhattan, home to the original Wall Street, hit a post-global financial crisis high of 11.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
news source & image credit: businesstimes.com.sg