Office leasing in 7 cities falls 48% in January-March, says report

Flexible space leased by corporate clients increased to 15,523 seats in Q1CY21 from 10,690 in Q1CY20

Net leasing of office space fell 48 per cent during January-March across seven cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but demand for the flexible space from corporates has increased, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

In its latest quarterly report, property consultant Cushman & Wakefield said the net leasing of office space declined to 35,78,585 sq ft in January-March 2021 from 69,31,922 sq ft in the corresponding period of the previous year across seven major cities.

The flexible space leased by corporate clients increased to 15,523 seats during the first quarter of this calendar year from 10,690 seats in the year-ago period.

"A sharp jump indicates that occupiers are relying on managed space as a smart alternative in the current situation," it said.

According to the data, the net leasing of office space in Mumbai plunged to 2,01,642 sq ft during January-March 2021, from 8,82,693 sq ft in the corresponding period last year.

In Delhi-NCR, the net office absorption fell to 4,28,469 sq from 15,97,003 sq ft.

The net leasing dropped to 17,24,456 sq ft in Bengaluru from 26,54,939 sq ft.

In Chennai, the demand for office space declined to 1,44,309 sq ft from 2,55,010 sq ft.

The net leasing in Pune, however, increased to 2,76,531 sq ft from 1,73,026 sq ft.

In Hyderabad, the net absorption went down to 6,24,321 sq ft from 8,91,613 sq ft, while Kolkata saw a fall to 1,78,857 sq ft from 4,77,638 sq ft.

Anshul Jain, managing director (SE Asia and India) of Cushman & Wakefield, said, "Since Q4 closed on a positive note for commercial real estate leasing business, the market was hopeful of a gradual return to business as usual. And, the immunisation drive carried out by the government added much-needed confidence."

Unfortunately, the sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases paused the momentum the market had picked up, he said.

"Unless the government rolls out the vaccination drive for one and all, occupiers will continue to remain cautious and market activity is likely to remain muted till the beginning of the second half of 2021," Jain added.



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