Australia Resources Boom Pushes Office Vacancies to 3-Year Low

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s resources boom is boosting demand for office space, with vacancies in the biggest cities falling to 7.8 percent as of July 1, the lowest since 2009, even as supply rose above historical levels, according to the Property Council of Australia.

Office vacancies in central business districts fell to 7.3 percent as of July 1, from 8.3 percent a year earlier, with three quarters of the demand from Perth and Brisbane, the council said in its Office Market Report. Some 404,857 square meters (4.35 million square feet) of office space was added across Australia’s eight state capitals in the six months to July 1, compared with a 20-year historical average of 283,986 square meters, according to the statement.

“While demand for office space is a buoyant 50 percent above the 20-year historical average, three quarters of net central business district absorption occurred in just Perth and Brisbane,” Peter Verwer, chief executive officer of the Property Council, said in an e-mailed release.

Australia hasn’t suffered a recession since 1991 and the nation’s mining boom, driven largely by Chinese and Indian demand for iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas from Western Australia and Queensland states, is expected to last decades. Western Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in June from 3.8 percent the previous month, the lowest in the country, while Queensland dropped to 5.3 percent from 5.7 percent.

The vacancy rate in central Perth fell to 4.2 percent as of July 1, compared with 7.8 percent a year earlier, even as 157,926 square meters of space was added in 2012, the highest on record. Sydney and Melbourne also saw vacancies fall, to 8.2 percent from 9.4 percent a year ago, and to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent respectively.

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