Return to the office gathers speed in Melbourne

23 November 2022

Docklands is leading the race as Melburnians return to CBD offices.

New Pathzz data highlights that weekday visitation to the precinct spiked by 49.9% between August and September after the work from home recommendations were lifted.

Other significant increases were recorded in Melbourne’s Eastern Core (+39.1%) and Western Core (+36.1%) – representing the city’s main office precincts.

Pathzz, a proprietary technology platform linked to CBRE, applies advanced Artificial Intelligence and Big Data processing to a stream of mobility signals and other data sets to provide analytical insights into consumer behaviours.

CBRE’s Victorian Head of Office Leasing Ashley Buller noted, “The Pathzz data is a positive sign for Melbourne, particularly given that Docklands accommodates the CBD’s largest office tenants. Over the close to three years since the start of the pandemic, large tenant demand has been subdued due to uncertainty around how workers would return to the office. However, a shift is occurring, with this latest data showing that workers are returning to the office in greater numbers. This is flowing through to increased tenant demand, and we currently have four 10,000sqm+ tenants assessing the market, with indications that more large tenant briefs are in the wings.”

The head of CBRE’s Victorian Office Occupier business Diarmuid Killeen noted that the Melbourne market had been working at two speeds, with smaller occupiers more active in their return to the office, as a flow on from actively  growing headcount over the past 18 months.

“While larger tenants have been slower to return, these larger organisations would like to see improved occupancy in their offices to drive collaboration, innovation and build culture, and many are now incentivising their staff to come back to the office more than 50% of the time,” Mr Killeen said.

Other key findings from September were that Civic, Melbourne’s main retail precinct, saw a smaller uptick in visitation than the city’s major office precincts while the North Eastern core had the highest proportion of night time visitors owing to the high proportion of restaurants and theatres.

The Eastern and Western cores had the least amount of visitation over the weekends. 

CBRE Research Director Kate Bailey said these precincts had relatively fewer permanent residents and retail offerings when compared to other parts of the CBD, with the data highlighting the importance of bringing workers back to the office to support these precincts.