CBDs poised for reactivation

The Property Council of Australia’s office occupancy survey has revealed the impact of ongoing lockdowns on Australia’s largest city centres as they prepare for a phased reopening over coming weeks.

The monthly survey of office building owners and managers has found that the occupancy level of Sydney’s CBD remains at only 4% of pre-COVID levels, as the city battles to contain the COVID-19 delta variant.

Melbourne and Canberra’s CBD experienced similar difficulties in September, recording only 6% and 8% of pre-COVID occupancy respectively.

Occupancy levels for other cities not enduring lockdowns were largely consistent with results recorded in previous months.

Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, said that October and November would be an important period for the reactivation of Australia’s largest CBDs.

“With Sydney and Melbourne both committed to a path out of lockdown, CBD office owners and managers are working to prepare their assets for the return of vaccinated workers,” Mr Morrison said.

“As Australia moves through the phases of recovery it will be critical that building owners and employers work together with all levels of government to bring our CBDs back stronger than ever,”

“This isn’t just about the coffee shops, dry cleaners and restaurants, the activity in our CBDs support millions of jobs and generate hundreds of billions of dollars broader economic activity,”

“Thriving CBDs aren’t an optional extra, we need to have our commercial centres reactivated properly if Australia is to replicate the strong economic recovery that we experienced following last year’s lockdowns.”

Over three quarters of respondents said they do not expect to see a material increase in CBD office occupancy levels within the next 3 months.

Office occupancy as a percentage of pre-COVID levels by CBD NOTE: The Property Council’s CBD office occupancy data is presented as a percentage of the pre-COVID rate of office occupancy, which is estimated at 90%. If a CBD achieves the same level of occupancy as the pre-COVID norm this is presented as “100%”.

Peak and low day level of occupancy in office buildings

Figures are based on responses from Property Council members who own or manage CBD office buildings and cover occupancy for the period from 23-30 September 2021.

Media contact: Richard Lindsay | M 0422 022 746 | E [email protected]

September 2021 Data & Charts
(Adobe PDF File)