Positive outlook as occupancy jumps in May

OFFICE • June 1, 2022

Positive signs as Australian CBDs welcomed more workers back to the office in May, with a strong uptick in office occupancy recorded across all CBDs, with some cities recording up to 80% occupancy on peak days.

The Property Council of Australia’s May Office Occupancy Survey found that overall occupancy levels jumped across all CBDs, with Adelaide leading the way at 71% of pre-COVID occupancy. Sydney and Melbourne both saw a strong jump in occupancy increasing from 42% to 55% and 36% to 48% respectively.

The nation’s capital showed strong growth as workers returned to the office, with occupancy leaping from 39% to 60% in May. In the west, Perth occupancy increased from 50% to 63%.

Notably, over half of the respondents believe the primary occupancy driver is demand for flexible working arrangements, whilst 63% of respondents do not expect to see a material increase in occupancy for the next 3 months.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison highlights the consistent jump in occupancy across the country is a pleasing sign.

“More individuals and workplaces are embracing the benefits of face-to-face connection and that CBDs are regaining much of their vibrancy.

“This positive lift has occurred at a time when COVID and now the flu is circulating widely, forcing many people and families to stay home or isolate, on top of some extremely wet weather on the east coast.

“Despite the challenging environment, it’s very pleasing to see plenty of people returning to their workplaces, with occupancy on peak days reaching 80 per cent in Adelaide, 73 per cent in Brisbane and 66 per cent in Sydney,” he said.

“While flexible working is here to stay, there is a value in face-to-face connection that can’t be replicated over a screen,” Mr Morrison said.