Property Australia

Rollercoaster work week for CBDs revealed

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal July 6, 2021

Office occupancy across all capital city CBDs is a story of peaks and troughs, making planning harder for businesses in our economic powerhouses, according to the Property Council’s latest data.

 

  Three key takeaways:

  • The survey of Property Council members taken before the latest lockdowns found office occupancy is fluctuating between weekly peaks and troughs
  • Office occupancy on the quietest day of the week is, on average, only 58% of the occupancy achieved on the busiest day
  • “A rollercoaster work week” poses challenges for employers, building owners and policymakers, says Property Council group executive of policy and advocacy, Mike Zorbas.

 

The latest occupancy survey – which measures people physically sitting at their desks rather than leased space – highlights the challenge ahead.

The survey found 80 per cent of office building owners and managers are not expecting to see a material increase in occupancy levels within the next three months.

“Our CBDs support millions of jobs and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity,” Zorbas says. “Ideally we need these economic engine-rooms operating safely and consistently every day of the week.”

The property industry continues to take the initiative to entice workers back to Australia’s commercial centres through a coordinated program of activations and attractions, Zorbas adds.

In Melbourne, the Property Council’s FOMO Fridays was held conjunction with the City of Melbourne and the Australian Retailers Association.

In Brisbane, Fridays in the City was held over June in partnership with Brisbane City Council, the Queensland Government and other CBD stakeholders.

“We’ve already seen a promising response to our CBD activation initiatives, with the Brisbane Lord Mayor estimating that mall traffic increased by 12.5 per cent on Fridays during the length of our campaign,” Zorbas says.

In Adelaide, FOMO Fridays is pitching freebies to South Australians to get back to the city. In Sydney, the other side of lockdown will see $100 of Friday-only vouchers to 500,000 office workers and a NYE party on the Cahill Expressway. There will be more to come in other capitals.

“Building owners and managers are not waiting for government leadership to drive CBD reactivation. We are proactively making the case for workers to return to their offices and enjoy all the benefits of face-to-face teamwork.”

 

Peak and low day level of occupancy in office buildings

Office Occupancy

 

Office occupancy as a percentage of pre-COVID levels by CBD

 

Feb-21 

Mar-21 

Apr-21 

May-21 

Jun-21 

Melbourne 

27% 

39% 

45% 

45% 

26% 

Sydney 

54% 

56% 

65% 

68% 

67% 

Brisbane 

72% 

69% 

70% 

71% 

71% 

Canberra 

72% 

72% 

70% 

71% 

72% 

Perth 

72% 

79% 

78% 

77% 

76% 

Adelaide 

77% 

79% 

78% 

78% 

80% 

Darwin 

89% 

93% 

93% 

93% 

88% 

Hobart 

84% 

89% 

91% 

93% 

89% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 it will be presented as “100%”.

Tags: COMMERCIAL