Perth skyline
Perth has recorded the highest office vacancy rate. Photo: Harry Cunningham, Pexels
  • Perth has the highest office vacancy rate in the country (20%)
  • Every capital city saw its vacancy rates rise, except Canberra which remained steady
  • This does not take into account people working from home

The Perth CBD office vacancy rate has hit 20 per cent, according to research from the Property Council of Australia (PCA).

The PCA’s latest Office Market Report reveals one fifth of Perth CBD office stock is considered vacant, marking a 1.6 per cent increase since July last year.

“Perth’s CBD office vacancy rate was already at 18.4 per cent in July 2020, and West Perth’s at 22.1 per cent – demand in the office market has been a challenge for Perth since 2016,” said Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer.

“With more than 42,000 sqm of office space due to come online in the CBD over the next year, it will be crucial for the wider economy that we reverse the current negative trend in demand.

“We know that COVID-19 will have impacts on the way we work, especially when outbreaks occur, but the pandemic won’t last forever.

“Business and government have a critical role to play in supporting the return to office workplaces and helping more people come back to office precincts.

“The fact remains that offices and the CBD will always remain the lifeblood of our city centres, and drivers of productivity and innovation,” Ms Brewer concluded.

Office vacancies are calculated on whether a lease is in place for office space, not whether the tenant’s employees are occupying the space or working from home.

Australia-wide surpluses

Meanwhile, the overall Australian city office vacancy rate has lifted to 11.7%, the highest in 24 years.

While Perth remains the most vacant city in terms of office space, most of the country’s city and larger town central districts now have vacancy rates in the double digits.

Perth office vacancy rates
Perth has the highest office vacancy rates. Image – PCA Office Market Report, January 2021

The only places to record falling vacancies were Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast, and every major city recorded vacancy increases except for Canberra, which remained steady at 10.1%.

The lowest office vacancy rates were in Hobart (5.1%), although this increased 1% since July 2020.

More stock coming

As if the work from home, pandemic, co-working alternatives and recessionary pressures were not enough to put on office space, more stock is coming onto the market.

Across the country, almost 1.1 million square metres of office space will be supplied to Australian CBDs over the next two years.

Future Supply of office space
There is more office space coming. Source: PCA Office Market Report, Jan 2021
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