Property’s ‘phenomenal surge’ in confidence but CBD still waits for workers

The Queensland property sector has rebounded with what it described as a phenomenal surge in confidence, despite the slower than anticipated return of workers to major business precincts.

Apr 15, 2021, updated Apr 15, 2021
The CBD occupancy remains slow to recover (Photo: The Conversation)

The CBD occupancy remains slow to recover (Photo: The Conversation)

According to the ANZ-Property Council survey the industry’s sentiment in Queensland confidence has nearly tripled since the worst days of the COVID pandemic, when a low of 58 index points was recorded during the April 2020 quarter.

It has since jumped to 124 points in the December 2020 quarter and to 144 index points in the March 2021 quarter.

But office occupancy is still stuck at 65 per cent in the Brisbane CBD and ANZ economist Felicity Emmet said it was the residential sector that was driving a buoyant outlook nationally.

“A net balance of 87 per cent of firms operating in the residential sector now expect price gains over the year,” Emmet said.

“On the construction front, a net balance of 61 per cent expect construction to expand over the coming year, the highest since March 2015 and up from 45 per cent in the previous quarter.”

Tourism property has deteriorated with 47 per cent of companies in the sector expecting declines over the next year.

Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said the results were nothing short of phenomenal, however, it was critical that the positivity was not taken for granted.

“The results highlight a remarkable recovery for Queensland’s property sector, which proved resilient throughout the challenges of last year and is now spearheading the State’s economic recovery,” said Mountford.

“The industry has recorded strong results on most metrics of success, from crane counts to property clearance rates, to our own quarterly confidence surveys.

“However, we do need to maintain some degree of caution as these positive results were recorded prior to Brisbane’s most recent lockdown, and while the benefits of Government stimulus programs continue to be felt.

“It is well documented that these lockdowns cost our economy millions and impact on the confidence of employees to return to their places of work.

“Office occupancy within Brisbane CBD has stagnated at circa 65 per cent, showing the road to recovery for our city centres has clearly not been as smooth as in other property sectors.

“With the end of JobKeeper and the ever-present spectre of another lockdown, there is clearly a need to support our CBDs and the many businesses that rely on the daily visitation of workers, students and tourists to make ends meet.

“Over the coming months, the Property Council will be working with its members, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government, to implement a plan to support our city centre and ensure it continues to drive Queensland’s economy.”



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