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Sombre figures point to a deceleration in CBD revival

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic 03 March 2021 | 1 minute read

The rate of workers returning to the office has decelerated nationwide, suggesting there is a long way to go to before Australia’s commercial centres are completely reactivated.

Sombre figures point to a deceleration in CBD revival

The Property Council’s latest office occupancy survey has revealed sombre figures, showing there has been little growth in the number of workers returning to offices in February across a majority of Australia.

Sydney’s CBD has emerged on top with growth of three percentage points from 45 to 48 per cent between January and February.

On the contrary, following recent snap lockdowns, Melbourne and PerthPerth, TAS Perth, WA CBDs both had less workers at the end of February, with Melbourne’s CBD recording only 24 per cent occupancy in the final week of last month.

It is clear that snap lockdowns have had an impact on CBD workers’ ability to return to their offices and their confidence to do so,” said Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison.

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He judged that while it’s naturally expected that more people will continue to work from home as part of the new COVID-normal, “thriving CBDs will be critical to Australia’s economic recovery”.

“Lively city centres are not only important for the thousands of businesses who rely on foot traffic, but also for millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in broader economic activity generated in our CBDs.” 

Judging by the Property Council’s findings, the most COVID-resilient city is Darwin, where occupancy stood at a firm 80 per cent in February. Darwin did, however, suffer a slight setback, losing two percentage points from December’s 82 per cent.

But recognising the need to boost office occupancy, Mr Morrison underlined the imperativeness of a join approach by policymakers, employers and the property industry.

“There is an economic imperative for all stakeholders to instigate policies and initiatives that will ensure our CBDs return to full activity as quickly as possible,” Mr Morrison said. 

According to the survey, greater flexibility was featured as one of the key barriers to full occupancy. Government lockdowns and public health restrictions were also noted as a major factor. 

“As Australia’s public health response reaches a new phase and the vaccination program rolls out, we’re looking forward to more CBD workers coming back to their offices to enjoy the benefits of face-to-face connections and collaboration,” Mr Morrison concluded.

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%

 

About the author

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at Read more



Sombre figures point to a deceleration in CBD revival
Sombre figures point to a deceleration in CBD revival
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