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Demand for quality Christchurch office space remains strong

NZ_AucklandCBD_Communications_Demand for quality Christchurch office space remains strong

Christchurch businesses don’t seem to share the rest of the country’s infatuation with working from home.

Brynn Burrows, Director of Office Leasing at Colliers Christchurch, says while it was a viable alternative during lockdown and for vulnerable people, local businesses are now keen to have their workers back in the office for much of the week.

“We know of some businesses that are actively encouraging their staff back into the office. But the trend here has always been quite different from the rest of the country. To a large extent that’s because Christchurch is such an easy city to live in and get around. We don’t have the same traffic congestion as the likes of Auckland, which can make it much harder for people working in the CBD,” Burrows says.

“We have good arterial routes, a robust bus service, ample car parking, and our city cycleways are arguably the best in the country among the main centres.”

“I think the working from home phenomena is past its peak in Christchurch. At the start of the year, businesses and organisations considering a shift to new premises decided to wait because they were often dealing with alternating teams in the office to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

“But now that more staff are returning to the office, businesses are looking afresh at their space needs. Enquiries are really picking up but there’s insufficient stock to satisfy the growing demand and any new builds are at least two years away.”

Burrows says there’s a growing trend among companies towards flexi or hybrid work where staff are expected to be in the office three days a week, with a maximum of two days working from home.

“That means they’re not reducing their office footprint but instead looking at how to use their space differently, primarily by creating more breakout areas for internal and external meetings.”

“You just can’t get the same energy on Zoom or Teams and it’s hard to create a team culture.”

“The crucial things an office provides are collaboration and mentorship. They’re key for any organisation. I think it’s vital for recruitment and retention of good staff – they want a great environment where they can be part of a collaborative culture that also provides the opportunity for socialising.”

He believes the four-day week will become increasingly popular, with more people opting to work four longer days in exchange for Friday off.

“Naturally this isn’t going to work for every organisation, but for a good many it’s very feasible and something I think we’ll see more of.”

Colliers’ recent annual Property Council of New Zealand Market Summit revealed a record shortage of CBD office space at 9.7 per cent vacancy – the lowest recorded since Colliers began surveying the market in 1993, according to Gary Sellars, Director of Valuation & Advisory Services at Colliers Christchurch.

There is no current corporate office space (350 sq m or larger) available in the CBD’s inner core, which is the area that covers the retail precinct through to Cathedral Square.

Office vacancy is also diminishing in the suburbs. Burnside and Russley are still proving especially popular with tenants, together with inner Addington where leasing options are limited in preferred locations.

Related Experts

Brynn Burrows

Director of Commercial Leasing

Christchurch (Agency)

Brynn heads our highly respected office leasing team in Christchurch.

He is the leading office leasing specialist in the South Island, working closely with landlords and tenants to provide strategic guidance. He has extensive market knowledge, gained over 14 years’ specialising in leasing.

Understanding the requirements of both stakeholders, Brynn assists landlords with bench marking deals and adds value to tenants by reviewing and refining their briefs. 
He has successfully negotiated leases with a number of national and international brands and tenants including Duncan Cotterill, Nexia, PwC, and Chapman Tripp. 

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Gary Sellars

Director, Registered Valuer

Christchurch (Real Estate Management and Valuations)

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