Office Activity: CBD vs Suburban

Commercial Buildings
In several recent articles, we discussed the growing health of the CBD Office markets around Australia.

Melbourne still leads the other capital cities with a CBD vacancy rate of 6.2% at the end of March.

And according to Savills’ latest Office Spotlight, the number of whole floors within the city of Melbourne has fallen by some 35% — from 60 to 39 available floors, as at January 2011.

It seems that CBD tenants are scrambling to lock in larger areas, to allow for growth and avoid the expected huge rent increases over the next 5 to 7 years.

Office VacanciesAs a result, many mid-sized tenants are being pushed out into suburban locations. In turn, this is causing these vacancies to fall and rentals to rise.

As such, Melbourne’s suburban vacancy rate (at 5.8%) is now below that for the CBD.

And Colliers Research believes this could fall below 4% over the next 12 months — through a shortage of new space coming onto the market.

Likewise, Sydney and Brisbane have seen their suburban vacancy rates also decline. And net prime face rents in North Sydney are now up over $600 per sqm.

It would appear only Adelaide’s suburban Office leasing market has remained soft — despite several major sales putting some downward pressure on yields.

Bottom Line: Fundamentally, all the signs are there for continued growth in Commercial rentals and capital values over the next 5 to 7 years — despite the global backdrop creating hesitation for some investors, who are not part of the “Inner Circle”!

CBD Offices Can Expect Solid Growth

What a difference a year can make to Office markets around Australia.

Twelve months ago, the rest of the world was anticipating double-dip recession.

And white-collar employment was looking rather fragile here in Australia — particularly for Sydney, with its high exposure to the finance industry.

Even so, Melbourne’s office leasing market remained strong throughout all of last year.
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Office Leasing the Stand-out Performer

Office leasing activity picked up in most capital cities around Australia, over the past year. In some instances, quite significantly.

And with the supply side basically “on hold”, you should soon start to see this translate into some solid rental increases.
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Interest Rate Rises …
Are they a Good Sign?

The RBA’s decision on interest rates yesterday came about because of what’s happening here in Australia, rather than in Europe.

It has been made against the backdrop of our exporters having recently extracted massive price hikes for iron or in coal, as a result of China’s strong growth.

Since the global turmoil started in 2008, the $A has climbed by nearly 55% against the $US — and just over 40% against our other key trading partners.

RBA Logic

RBA Logic

This has more or less offset the rise in Australia’s local retail prices, through a sharp decline in the cost of imported items — like electrical goods, clothing, footwear and furniture.

As a result, the NAB’s business confidence index stands firmly positive for the third consecutive quarter. And even more importantly, actually improved throughout the last quarter.

h2. How will this affect Commercial Property?
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