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Thursday 7 April 2022

MEDIA RELEASE

Encouraging signs in return to office as occupancy rates
in most cities rise significantly

CBD workers are heading back to their offices with occupancy rates in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra all more than doubling over March, according to a new survey by the Property Council of Australia.

The Property Council of Australia's latest Office Occupancy survey found Melbourne's occupancy increased from 15 per cent to 32 per cent in March, Sydney's office occupancy reached 41 per cent from 18 per cent the previous month, while Canberra hit 45 per cent, up from 21 per cent.

The March survey of office owners also found more modest increases in Brisbane and Adelaide, where occupancy lifted from 41 to 48 per cent, and 47 to 61 per cent, respectively.

Perth was the only city to see a decline in its office occupancy as it entered its peak Omicron infection period, with rates dropping from 55 to 45 per cent, the lowest rate since July 2020.

While the big gains in many cities were coming off Omicron-induced lows, Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the data was very encouraging.

“It's heartening that people are returning to the office in such numbers, particularly given considerable weather events on the east coast and the continuing isolation impacts of the pandemic," Mr Morrison said.

“To see office occupancy rates double in some of our major CBDs is especially pleasing and bodes well for further recovery in the months ahead.

“While most businesses are encouraging some flexible working arrangements with their staff, there are huge benefits in personal connection and it’s good to see these being embraced once again,” he said.

According to the survey, office occupancy rates vary between peak and low days. For example, on a peak day in Adelaide, the occupancy rate reached a high of 72 per cent, but on a low day, it fell to 49 per cent.

The Property Council of Australia survey also asked respondents when they expected to see a major improvement in occupancy levels, and although 32 per cent believed it would take 1-2 months, more than half (56 per cent) said it would take 3 months or more.

According to the survey, the majority of office owners believe that a preference for greater flexibility (42 per cent) is the primary driver of occupancy levels.

“As forecasted, office occupancy rates accelerated in March as more businesses reopened after the school holidays,” Mr Morrison said.

“We hope to see this trend continue as the Property Council works with business and all levels of government to bring back vibrancy into our CBDs,” he said.



Media contact: Rhys Prka | 0425 113 273 | [email protected]


Office Occupancy rates:

 

Mar-21

Apr-21

May-21

Jun-21

Jul -21

Aug-21

Sep-21

Oct-21

Nov-21

Jan-22

Feb-22

Mar-22

Melb CBD

39%

45%

45%

26%

12%

7%

6%

4%

12%

4%

15%

32%

Syd CBD

56%

65%

68%

67%

7%

4%

4%

8%

23%

7%

18%

41%

Perth CBD

79%

78%

77%

76%

78%

77%

76%

79%

77%

66%

55%

45%

Canberra

72%

70%

71%

72%

73%

8%

8%

7%

17%

7%

21%

45%

Bris

CBD

79%

78%

78%

71%

67%

60%

64%

57%

63%

13%

41%

48%

AdelCBD

69%

70%

71%

80%

15%

65%

51%

64%

73%

11%

47%

61%



The survey was conducted in the field between 24 and 31 March 2022.


ENDS

Media Release
(Adobe PDF File)