Office occupancy levels rebound
The number of Australians headed back to the office has increased as life gets back to normal for many CBD workers.
The latest data from the Property Council of Australia shows that all office markets except Perth have rebounded strongly to start 2022, with Melbourne and Canberra recording their highest office occupancy levels since June 2021.
Occupancy levels have been hit hard over the past 18 months, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, as lockdowns significantly reduced the number of people headed to city CBDs.
The latest survey of office owners revealed Melbourne’s CBD reached 15 per cent occupancy, while Canberra achieved 21 per cent, levels not seen in those capitals since June 2021 (when occupancy was at 26 per cent and 72 per cent respectively).
Sydney recorded 18 per cent occupancy, which was just below its November figure of 23 per cent.
The largest rebounds in office occupancy were recorded in Brisbane, where there was a sharp jump from a record low of 13 per cent to 41 per cent. Adelaide, which came off a low of 11 per cent in January, has leapt to a 47 per cent occupancy in February.
The only CBD which didn’t record a positive boost was Perth, which recorded its lowest office occupancy rate (55 per cent) since the survey commenced in July 2020.
Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison said the results were pleasing, with numbers bouncing back after a string of lockdowns and the typical holiday lull.
“Given occupancy really bottomed out in January because of the Omicron wave and holidays, it’s heartening to see such a significant turnaround just one month later,” Mr Morrison said.
“There is still a long way to go and there are local factors affecting each city, but these figures are a strong start which we expect to accelerate in March, as more businesses reopen their offices.”
“It’s important that governments, councils and business have a big focus on bringing our CBDs back to life.”