The Sydney CBD commercial office market will be the prominent player in 2008. A rise in leasing activity is likely to take place with businesses re-examining the selection of purchasing as the costs of borrowing drain the bottom line. Strong tenant demand underpins a new round of construction with several new speculative buildings now likely to proceed.
The vacancy rate is likely to fall before new stock can comes onto the market. Strong demand and a lack of available options, the Sydney CBD market is likely to be a key beneficiary and the standout player in 2008.
Strong demand stemming from business growth and expansion has fueled demand, however it has been the decline in stock which has largely driven the cbd water soluble in vacancy. Total office inventory declined by almost 22,000m² in January to June of 2007, representing the biggest decline in stock levels for over 5 years.
Ongoing solid white-collar employment growth and healthy company profits have sustained demand for office space in the Sydney CBD over the second half of 2007, resulting in positive net absorption. Driven by this tenant demand and dwindling available space, rental growth has accelerated. The Sydney CBD prime core net face rent increased by 11.6% in the second half of 2007, reaching $715 psm per annum. Incentives offered by landlords continue to decrease.
The total CBD office market absorbed 152,983 sqm of office space during the 12 months to July 2007. Demand for A-grade office space was particularly strong with the A-grade off market absorbing 102,472 sqm. The premium office market demand has decreased significantly with a negative absorption of 575 sqm. In comparison, a year ago the premium office market was absorbing 109,107 sqm.
With negative net absorption and rising vacancy levels, the Sydney market was struggling for five years between the years 2001 and late 2005, when things began to change, however vacancy remained at a fairly high 9.4% till July 2006. Due to competition from Brisbane, and to a lesser extent Melbourne, it has been a real struggle for the Sydney market in recent years, but its core strength is now showing the real outcome with probably the finest and most soundly based performance indicators since early on in 2001.
The Sydney office market currently recorded the third highest vacancy rate of 5.6 per cent in comparison with all other major capital city office markets. The highest increase in vacancy rates recorded for total office space across Australia was for Adelaide CBD with a slight increase of 1.6 per cent from 6.6 per cent. Adelaide also recorded the highest vacancy rate across all major capital cities of 8.2 per cent.