Thai developers delay opening of new office buildings due to pandemic

The occupancy rate of CBD office spaces dropped to 89.43 percent and is expected to continue to decline in the third quarter 

The downward trend is expected to continue in the third quarter, a consecutive decrease since the second quarter last year. CraigSchuler/Shutterstock

According to property consultant Edmund Tie & Co Thailand, as the country’s lockdown extends into August, the office market slowdown will continue in Q3 2021 with a further decrease in occupancy rate, reported Bangkok Post 

Neeranuch Kanokvilairat, manager of research & consulting, said the pandemic had caused some office tenants to cope with the negative impacts by reducing the number of employees and office space.  

“Some companies needed to relocate to other office buildings which had lower expenditure as they tightened their belts for business survival. Some needed to close down their business due largely to a prolonged impact from Covid-19,” she said. 

In Q2 2021, the occupancy rate of prime central business district (CBD) office spaces in Bangkok dropped to 89.43 percent from 90.85 percent in the first quarter. 

The downward trend is expected to continue in the third quarter, a consecutive decrease since the second quarter last year. 

The average rental rate in prime CBD also decreased from THB1,065 per square metre per month in Q1 2021 to THB1,055 in Q2 — a drop of one percent.  

“The decline of rental in prime and secondary offices in the CBD was due to the rental discounts given to tenants whose financial condition was severely hit by the prolonged impact of the pandemic,” she said. 

Due to the high infections throughout Thailand, developers are expected to delay the opening of new office buildings until the end of the year.  

She added that “The opening schedule could be further delayed, subject to whether there will be an improvement in the infection rate and a relaxation of the lockdown measures.”  

The outbreak will force more businesses to close, expand cost-cutting measures, downsize their operations, as well as revise space requirements. Landlords offer rental waivers and rental discounts to keep existing tenants.  

More: Thailand’s recent outbreak causes property prices in Q3 to slide

Moreover, there is an increasing demand for LEED or WELL certified buildings that include virus sanitisation systems, PM2.5 filtration, sustainable and green energy, and green/open areas for outdoor relaxation.  

New prime office buildings will be equipped with automatic and sensor technology and digital innovations to upgrade office facilities and support the digital transformation. 

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].