Brisbane office market sees growing investor appetite: HTW Commercial

Brisbane office market sees growing investor appetite: HTW Commercial
Brisbane office market sees growing investor appetite: HTW Commercial

For a number of years, the performance of the Brisbane office market has been underwhelming, to say the least, and has lagged behind the broader Brisbane commercial markets, according to property valuation firm Herron Todd White.

The valuation firm found, stubbornly high vacancy rates due to constant supply additions and patchy conditions across key industries resulting in an ongoing competitive leasing market and limited rental growth have been key factors as to why the office market has been sluggish virtually since the GFC.

Brisbane is however currently undergoing a major transformation with a number of significant infrastructure projects that have either recently been completed or are currently under construction.

These projects, coupled with the low interest rate environment, are having a positive impact on the CBD and fringe CBD leasing markets and are seeing increasing appetite from investors, both on a private and an institutional level.

Recent vacancy statistics released by the Property Council of Australia (PCA) have indicated that the overall Brisbane CBD vacancy rate compressed further in July 2019 to 11.9%, which is its lowest rate since January 2013. Furthermore, the overall Brisbane fringe CBD market also reduced to 13.8%, its lowest since January 2017.

Vacancies for prime grade CBD accommodation are now below 9% and more tellingly, there is no sub-lease space now available in these properties.

A-grade vacancies in fringe areas have also dropped markedly from 16.7% to 12.7% over the past six months.

The report stated, "given the improving leasing markets, it is likely we will see gross face rents stabilise for prime and A-grade office accommodation in the CBD and fringe CBD."

It also noted, stronger performing precincts such as King Street and Ann Street (Fortitude Valley), Gas Works precinct (Newstead), South Brisbane and the Golden Triangle (Brisbane CBD) are likely to see rental growth over the remainder of the year for modern quality developments.

The HTW valuers said, "we may also (finally!) see incentives start to fall. The positive vibe coming out of Brisbane is now starting to translate into a number of strong investment transactions and the opportunity and appetite for re-positioning underperforming commercial office assets is on the rise."

"The market generally has been active over the past 12 months and selling agents are reporting that demand is also increasing for underperforming, older style office assets that can be re-positioned and re-let."

"The near-term outlook for the Brisbane office market appears positive and it is possible that further yield compression may occur should interest rates decline further."

"Furthermore, the yield spread between Brisbane and its southern counterparts (Sydney and Melbourne) is still significant and the coming infrastructure projects are likely to increase Brisbane’s attraction as an investment destination," they concluded.

Brisbane Office Market

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