“A big vibrancy boost”: Melbourne office occupancy hits record high since pandemic

“A big vibrancy boost”: Melbourne office occupancy hits record high since pandemic

Photo credit: ayushjain (via Unsplash)

New data reveals that Melbourne’s CBD workers are heading back into the office at record levels since the pandemic struck, with the city’s office occupancy lifting to 57 per cent in November.

While the city is showing signs of recovery, it continues to trail capitals such as Sydney (59 per cent), Adelaide (74 per cent), Brisbane (67 per cent) and Perth, which recorded the highest occupancy in the nation at 80 per cent.

The Property Council of Australia’s Office Occupancy Survey also found that Canberra’s occupancy fell by 5 percentage points between October and November – dipping from 57 per cent to 52 per cent.

The figure is the lowest recorded occupancy level in the country, reflecting a percentage dip of 12 per cent compared to Canberra’s year-high of 64 per cent in August.  

Peak days saw occupancy reach 88 per cent in Perth, which was followed by Adelaide (77 per cent), Melbourne, (75 per cent), Sydney (74 per cent), Brisbane (73 per cent) and Canberra (67 per cent).

Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison says the strong jump in Melbourne was very welcome and a 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,” Morrison says.

“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.

Morrison also notes that Perth is setting the bar for the rest of the country.

“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.

“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.”

Canberra reported the worst occupancy rates during low-level days - only reaching 30 per cent. This was followed by Melbourne (39 per cent), Sydney (41 per cent), Brisbane (48 per cent), Adelaide (64 per cent) and Perth (71 per cent).

Meanwhile, Australia’s most populous capital reached its highest occupancy level since June 2021.

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

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

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