Premium-grade buildings such as Brookfield place are Perth’s most sought-after locations, with a vacancy rate less than the national average at 8.1 per cent.
Lower grade ‘C’ and ‘D’ buildings went in reverse, with more than 5000 square metres becoming vacant.
Property Council WA executive director Sandra Brewer said the numbers were trending in the right direction.
“Big landlord refurbishments, upgrades and an uptick in new café offerings, including 100 Cups, Arlo and Little Soho Coffee Co, are contributing to a sense of optimism along St Georges Terrace,” she said.
Ms Brewer also pointed to co-working spaces as a reason for the downward trend.
Global flexible workspace company WeWork inked Perth’s biggest leasing deal of 2019 when it signed a 7900square metre lease in Central Park in February and added another 3400 square metres in William Square in Northbridge in June.
Dexus Place, the former home of Woodside, also launched its co-working space in early October.
“Co-working operators account for more than 10,000sqm leased in 2019,” Ms Brewer said.
“It’s no secret Perth’s office market has faced challenges but there’s now a greater sense of optimism as WA’s economic fortunes are expected to improve.”
The Council expected nearly 20,000 square metres of space to come online in Perth this year but no other space was projected until 2023 when Chevron’s Elizabeth Quay tower opened.
WeWork Australia general manager Balder Tol said the growing popularity of coworking spaces was down to businesses seeking more cost-efficient and flexible workplaces.
“If companies can reduce real estate costs and improve their employees’ work experience at the same time then that’s a win-win,” he said.
Outside of the CBD, West Perth continued to experience high vacancies
Total vacancies in the traditional home of budding startups and junior WA miners increased from 16.9 per cent to 17.5 per cent.
For the first time ever the council provided a snapshot of vacancies east of the CBD.
In East Perth 21.8 per cent of the 317,000 square metres of office space was vacant.
“We are really excited about our new East Perth initiative, which separates East Perth vacancy rates for the first time,” Ms Brewer said.
“We now have clearly defined CBD, West Perth and East Perth markets, making it easier for decision makers to analyse the make-up of the vacant stock. The Perth CBD boundaries have not changed.”
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s business reporter.