Melbourne is the largest contributor to sublease availability in Australia, with the CBD representing 56% of the national sublease market. Image: Canva
  • Decline in Melbourne has fuelled the national decline
  • In Melbourne, this represented a 42% year-to-date reduction
  • Comes off additions stabilising in 2021

New data shows that sublease activity across Australia’s five largest cities has fallen by over 100,000 sqm.

This has largely been on the back of an 81,300 sqm decline in Melbourne, according to CBRE data, which highlights that 242,700 sqm of sublease supply was available at the end of April across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

This represents a 29.6% reduction compared to the end-of-2021 figure of 344,600 sqm, and is the lowest national figure since June 2020 and down from the January 2021 peak of 428,600 sqm.

Melbourne witnessed a 42% year-to-date reduction from 192,600 sqm to 111,300 sqm, with the local market reaching a peak of 200,000 sqm in January 2022.

Mark Curtain of CBRE noted that stronger occupier demand for quality, fitted space drove sublease transactions.

“With many tenants pursuing pre-fitted space solutions to avoid the cost and inconvenience associated with office fit-out, the national sublease market has enjoyed strong deal activity,” said Mr Curtain.

“Melbourne has been a standout performer, with total availability dropping by 42% in 2022.”

Perth recorded a significant reduction (10,600 sqm) as did Brisbane (8,600 sqm). Sydney recorded a minor contraction and Adelaide remained unchanged.

Currently, there is 242,700 sqm of available supply, with 210,100 sqm of this in Melbourne or Sydney.

Market December 2021 April 2022 YTD change
Sydney 100,200sqm 98,800sqm -1.4%
Melbourne 192,600sqm 111,300sqm -42.2%
Brisbane 26,500sqm 17,900sqm -32.6%
Perth 20,400sqm 9,800sqm -52.0%
Adelaide 4,900sqm 4,900sqm 0.0%
Australia 344,600sqm 242,700sqm -29.6%


Availability in Melbourne is at its lowest figure since October 2020. The IT, Financial, Insurance and Education sectors drove this decline.

“The significant fall in sublease availability within Melbourne is attributed not only to improved deal activity but also to stock withdrawals,” said Ashley Buller, CBRE Head of Office Leasing, Victoria.

“Many of Melbourne’s largest deals in the past 12 months have taken place in sublease space with near new, high-quality fit-outs on highly tenant-favourable deals.

“We expect the majority of the remaining high-quality sublease space will be leased by year end and the Southern Cross precinct to continue to secure the greatest number of sublease transactions during this time.”

Nationally, CBRE Research Senior Analyst Nick Baring noted that most markets are new witnessing reductions in sublease availability following additions that stabilised throughout 2021.

“This is likely to continue throughout the remainder of the year as CBDs experience business continuity.

“There’s definitely been a further increase in occupier preference for fitted space due to rising refurbishment and construction costs.

“That’s flowed through major markets like Sydney and Melbourne, where fitted sublease tenancies are becoming increasingly popular, translating to transactions.”

Of the other markets, Perth is now seeing sublease availability at its lowest level in the last 10 years, close to becoming an irrelevant part of the market, representing just 0.6% of total stock.

“Demand for quality existing fitted space remains strong, and thus any new space to the market will likely be keenly sought after,” said Andrew Denny, CBRE Senior Director, Office Leasing – WA.

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