THE pandemic took its toll on office rents in the third quarter as souring business sentiment and a weaker labour market prompted rentals of office space to decline 4.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter for the Central Region after holding steady in the previous quarter.

Analysts said that more occupiers sought to right-size and cut costs by scaling back on some or all their space as leases came up for renewal, while landlords had to lower rents more aggressively to find replacement tenants.

With working from home still the default, office space is also under-utilised, said Christine Li, head of research, (Singapore and Southeast Asia) for Cushman & Wakefield.

Real estate consultancy JLL estimates that the average monthly gross effective rents for Grade A CBD office space came down by 3.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter to S$10.08 per square foot (sq ft) in Q3, accelerating from a 3 per cent decline in Q2.

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