What does the commercial property landscape look like post COVID?

Katie Rollinson
What does the commercial property landscape look like post COVID?

We all know COVID has changed so much in the landscape of commercial property, but how does it differ across the different asset classes and around the country? 

Watch as 5 of our leading Asset Managers discuss how each of their local markets has changed or adapted post COVID.   

"It's been really interesting in Melbourne", says Director Allison Brudenell. "We're still starting to see some recovery, which is fantastic. What we found during COVID initially was that we had tenants that were obviously struggling and having problems, but we saw them through the first lockdown and found that it was the second and third where we did actually lose tenants and find ourselves with vacancy.

In Melbourne, we've got vacancies that have been very hard to fill, but we're starting to see those being filled now, which is fantastic.

"From a rental perspective we are seeing some leveling off, particularly in the CBD where we have to manage the expectations of our landlords."  

"Ours is a bit different" says Tracy Preston, "We've been very fortunate in the Illawarra and in the other regional centers that we look after property in that we didn't have as many lockdowns as what you had in Melbourne. We got back to business a lot faster than you guys did down in Victoria, which really set us apart.

We also found that because we are in a regional location that people were more keen to come back to the office more quickly, Because they didn't have to deal with public transport and we didn't have hundreds or even thousands of people trying to get into a lift at once,  you might have only had 10 or 20, and people were able to stagger their work from home and their work in the office a lot more than what the response has been around the country elsewhere. So what we've found is that we had a quite swift return to the office."

Our rents are all back to normal. In fact we've have had a lot of tenants that have actually prepaid or rather brought forward the payment of their deferrals at their own request, too.

"None of the landlords have requested that, the tenants have said we just wanna pay and get on with it. So, the Illawarra is looking fairly healthy in terms of commercial and retail post COVID." 

Robert Anderson from our Sydney office explains "the Sydney market, in the commercial space for offices and retail is definitely soft. Through the ordeal of COVID and rental relief for the affected tenants, as much work as it was, we found we had great success in maintaining our tenancies. We really didn't lose any. So we're really proud and happy about that at this stage, but the, the retail and office sector is definitely much softer. Any vacancies in those spaces are either a rental correction or taking longer lease. Demand is there, but it's definitely on the average to low side."

"So it's just gonna take a little while in terms of readjustment on office usage. That's something we are seeing not too many really big spaces have come up yet, but that could happen in the coming months. Industrial is just very strong.

There's basically a shortage of industrial right through the Sydney and regional areas. And it is maintaining its strength."

"From a coming back to work point of view - the CBD is back", say Tom Donnelly Director, MMJ Real Estate Sydney. , As far as I'm concerned Sydney is nearly back to capacity. I know that a lot of people are still working from home but I can see the restaurants are busy again as are the pubs, the bars, and all that.  You can see there's a whole vibrant CBD again, which is fantastic considering the lockdowns in the last couple of years.

Interestingly I had a tenant in one of my properties who have a bit of a hybrid model. They're quite a big organization, but they managed during the lockdown to increase their staff level by 30%. And what I mean by 'hybrid model' is where they employ people from home but they can have access to the office as well. A 30% increase during that lockdown is absolutely sensational.  And I'm finding a lot of businesses and tenants that we deal with are embracing the hybrid model more, they're working from home and coming into the office and it seems to be working."

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