Property Council welcomes focus on ageing buildings

Making it for easier adaptive reuse of ageing buildings will address a key challenge advocated by the property sector, says the Property Council of Australia.

The Property Council’s latest biannual Office Market Report reveals vacancy in D-Grade stock in the Adelaide CBD have reached 20.6 per cent, eclipsing the 20.4 per cent vacancy set more than two decades ago in July 1995.

The Adelaide CBD office market vacancy in the six months to January 2016 hit 14.1 per cent – up from 13.5 in July last year – and is now at its highest level of vacancy since July 1999.

SA Executive Director of the Property Council Daniel Gannon said lower grade office vacancy rates in Adelaide's CBD have reached their highest levels on record.

“Ageing city buildings with high vacancy rates means we need action at a policy level,” he said.

“Currently, development and building code barriers prevent building owners from transitioning their ageing commercial stock to prime multi-residential offerings.

“Our city’s lower grade buildings present a major challenge for building owners and policy decision-makers. At the moment, CBD office vacancy rates for our older and lower quality stock sit at 20 per cent.

“That means one in five spaces in our older and lower quality buildings isn’t being utilised, and that’s because tenants are inclined to undertake a flight to better quality buildings.

“More residential options in the CBD would also result in more vibrancy and a stronger city population, which means job opportunities.

“The property sector welcomes today’s announcement to remove barriers to repurposing older building stock, including heritage constraints, planning restrictions, and onerous building code requirements.

“We need to make it easier – and not harder – to transition our office buildings into residential apartments, and it’s positive news that policy-makers are listening.

“This approach might instead mean dwindling vacancy rates and increased confidence. It might mean increased density and plunging jobless rates.

“Doing nothing isn’t an option.”