Melbourne hits record high office occupancy since pandemic: PCA

Office occupancy in Melbourne is 57 per cent – its highest since early 2020.

Offices in Perth hit 80 per cent occupancy in November and Melbourne recorded its highest occupancy levels since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Property Council of Australia.

Melbourne enjoyed the largest increase in the country in the latest Office Occupancy survey, with rates lifting 12pc last month to 57pc, the highest level since the pandemic began.

Perth’s nation-leading occupancy rates were the highest the city has seen since November 2020. Meanwhile, Sydney’s office occupancy rose to 59pc, its highest level since June 2021.

Occupancy also increased in Brisbane from 64 to 67pc, Adelaide remains strong at 74pc, with Canberra dipping from 57 to 52pc to record the lowest occupancy levels in the country.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the strong jump in Melbourne was very welcome and a very positive sign of recovery for that city.

“The Melbourne momentum has begun, with the biggest jump in office occupancy of any city in the country and a new post-pandemic high,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is a big vibrancy boost for Melbourne and for all our CBDs where office workers are now spending more time with their colleagues in their workplaces.

“Interestingly, peak office occupancy days in Melbourne are actually the third highest in the country at 75pc, but its low days are the second lowest in the country at 39pc,” he said.

Mr Morrison said Perth’s result showed that the actions of political leaders can have a strong influence on the vibrancy of their CBDs.

“With its nation-leading 80pc occupancy rate, Perth is setting the bar for the rest of the country,” Mr Morrison said (item continues below).

“While Perth didn’t experience the same severity of lockdowns than other cities, Premier McGowan sent very clear and early messages that public servants needed to remain connected to their workplaces and this has had strong results,” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan earlier this year said while he was not opposed to flexible working, he believed that having people regularly working from home was not good for society, the community or CBDs. He also urged the state’s public servants to work from their offices rather than home.

“Public sector leadership is important and there are definite lessons to be drawn from Perth’s success for other cities, including Canberra which went backwards last month,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said it was pleasing to see strong occupancy in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide during November.

“It is very encouraging that Sydney’s occupancy rate has reached its highest level in a year and a half,” Mr Morrison said.

“Occupancy on peak days reached 88pc in Perth, 77pc in Adelaide and 75pc in Melbourne, with Sydney peaks at 74pc, Brisbane at 73pc and Canberra at 67pc.

“With warmer weather now upon us, the continuing recovery of our CBDs bodes well.

“However, more needs to be done and we cannot rest on our laurels as we head into the New Year,” he said.

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