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Q1 office occupancy rates disappoint as Covid-19 cloud hangs

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The average monthly per-square-metre office rental rates in the city centre over January-March remained flat at $26.50 and $21.60 for Grades A and B, respectively, compared to October-December 2021, but inched up 1.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $15.30 for Grade C. Heng Chivoan

Q1 office occupancy rates disappoint as Covid-19 cloud hangs

The occupancy rate of office space in the capital dipped by 1.2 percentage points to 66.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the fourth quarter of last year, as three new projects were launched and Covid-19 uncertainty persisted, according to Chin Chandaluch, a representative of real estate company CBRE Cambodia.

Chandaluch, manager of Valuation and Advisory Services at CBRE Cambodia, told The Post on April 6 that the three projects totalled “more than 30,000sqm” in gross leasable area.

In a press release obtained by The Post on April 6, CBRE Cambodia said the three rental office buildings opened during January-March brought the total to 100, increasing the Phnom Penh office supply past 856,000sqm.

Those developments were two Grade B office buildings – The Peak in Chamkarmon district and the Business Development Centre in Chroy Changvar district – and another Grade C project, SP Building in Tuol Kork district, it said.

CBRE Cambodia predicts that the office supply in the capital will increase to about 927,000sqm by end-2022 – or 71,000sqm more than in end-March.

However, Chandaluch emphasised that office rental and occupancy rates “would not improve” this year as long as the global Covid-19 pandemic overshadows the launch of new projects. “The real estate sector in Cambodia needs more time to recover to be what it was in 2018-2019,” she said.

The average monthly per-square-metre office rental rates in the city centre over January-March remained flat at $26.50 and $21.60 for Grades A and B, respectively, compared to October-December 2021, but inched up 1.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $15.30 for Grade C, according to Chandaluch.

The firm’s managing director, Lawrence Lennon, said Cambodia’s effective Covid-19 vaccination campaign had been a “cornerstone in the full scale reactivation of mobility” within the Kingdom – with 87.92 per cent of the country’s estimated 16 million population having received their primary series as of April 5, as reported by the Ministry of Health the next day.

“This status is providing confidence for companies and individuals on the ground to resume life in what feels more like the ‘old-normal’, rather than a that of the much discussed ‘new-normal’,” he said.

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