Sydney CBD workers returning but still a long way to go

The Property Council of Australia’s latest office occupancy survey shows occupancy in Sydney’s CBD office buildings has increased 3 points from 45 to 48 per cent between January and February 2021.

NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said Sydney had the greatest increase in office occupancy in this period, followed by Brisbane, the only other capital city to show an increase in this period (one point).

“Sydney still has double the current occupancy rates of Melbourne, who recorded a drop in occupancy figures from 31 percent to 24 per cent. This shows the dramatic impact lock downs have on our CBDs,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

Australia’s two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney still hold the two lowest occupancy rates in the nation, with Darwin showing the highest occupancy in the nation with a second consecutive report of 80 per cent.

“New South Wales saw slow but steady growth in the past month, building on the confidence in the state government and the lack of community transmitted COVID cases in the state,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The sturdy position of the NSW Premier to keep borders open and only lock down local areas with local outbreaks is laying the path for life in a COVID managed way.

“The most recent results from our survey shows how great the challenge is balancing keeping the community safe, restoring community confidence and keeping the economy open.”

Ms Fitzgerald said that as the vaccination programme rolls out across the nation, with NSW now well underway, and the investment from the NSW government in city vibrancy activities, the city is well set for welcoming workers back to a vibrant and safe environment.

The Property Council also records key influences in these trends, as reported by the country’s largest landlords. A marked increase in the impact of Government public health restrictions/lockdowns has been recorded between January and February 2021. The other major contributing factor is reported to be preferences for greater flexibility including working from home, albeit with a small reduction in this sentiment between January and February.
Office occupancy by CBD

CBD                                       Dec 2020     Jan 2021      Feb 2021
Melbourne                            13%              31%              24%
Sydney                                  45%              45%              48%
Brisbane                               61%              63%              64%
Canberra                               65%              68%              65%
Adelaide                               68%              69%              69%
Hobart                                   76%              80%              76%
Perth                                     77%              66%              65%
Darwin                                  82%              80%              80%

Figures are based on responses from Property Council members who own or manage CBD office buildings and cover occupancy for the period from 22 to 28 February 2021.

Media contact: Lauren Conceicao | M 0499 774 356 | E [email protected]
Office Occupancy March 2021
(Adobe PDF File)