Topping the number of big commercial property deals of 2014 will be hard and lower-grade office blocks are more likely to be traded than the top-end buildings, one expert says.

Justin Kean, JLL's Auckland-based director of research and consultancy, said nothing could outdo the past year.

"International capital will still likely come into the market in 2015 however it will be less 'blockbuster' in nature with there being few opportunities left for the $1 billion type deals that we have seen in 2014," Kean said.

"Rather we think in 2015 we will start to see the market focus on secondary assets, assets with higher yield profiles and assets where there is considerable work to be done.


"We are already seeing this with buildings such as 22 Fanshawe St and 125 Queen St and would expect more to follow.

"We believe that 2015 will likely see new international retailers enter the market. This should have a very positive impact on retail rents, especially prime rents.

"Very few international retailers have entered the NZ market since 2007, however with Australia coming out of the doldrums and with the NZ economic story persisting through 2015 we should see the sector welcome high profile new entrants," he said.

Office rents will see growth and tenants will be expected to pay more.

"This means that owners of especially prime assets will likely benefit and large tenants, if they have not already done so, will need to put in place a strategy if they have an expiry coming up in the next few years.

"Secondary rents are unlikely to move with the same gusto however with there continuing to be some vacancy lag in secondary space over prime," he said.

"We think that 2015 will be a year in the sun for Wellington.

"With stock, yields and demand tight in Auckland there is really only one second alternative to the Auckland institutional market - Wellington office.


"So just as this year has been a strong year for Wellington we would expect next year to be even better. Suggest that next year will be a record year for transactions in Wellington both in prime office and industrial," Kean said.

However, Chris Dibble, national research manager at Colliers International in Auckland, said the scene was still set for new levels of activity.

"Now that New Zealand is perceived as a growth location, not just a stable market, foreign and domestic investment activity will ramp up even further, resulting in a record breaking 2015 in terms of sales numbers," he said.

Industrial investment prices would rise, as syndicators and owner-occupiers, drawing on low and stable debt costs, joined domestic investor groups. Offshore parties will struggle to find opportunities of enough substance, he said.

Housing could be in for a big boost in 2015, with Dibble predicting market players to find new ways to package housing development including new rental structures and residential funds.

Auckland's CBD and its outer edges would go further to the west.

"Wynyard Quarter - the new western edge of the CBD - will thrive as the benefits of quality urban design are demonstrated: Westgate will provide retailing equilibrium as the new centre provides quality retailing in the west: and Westfield, now Scentre, use their new Singaporean partners to act on expansion opportunities," Dibble said.

Fluctuations in the fortunes of the forestry and dairy sector would not slow demand for property, he said, and unprecedented levels of demand could come from overseas for substantial investment opportunities.

"This investment will give a boost to innovation in primary industries including increased efforts to reduce land and water pollution," Dibble said.

Christchurch businesses would commit to rents they didn't think they could afford, by virtue of a better understanding of workplace metrics and increased density made possible by good design of new buildings," he said.

"People need property. Rising populations mean rising demand in all sectors. Where this is absent values will remain flat or fall.

"Investors like growth and will need high returns to persuade them to invest in low or no growth locations," he concluded.