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Office market enjoys positive prospects despite fewer new projects

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Claudia Ariton
While new openings of office facilities have been few and far between this year, the market has focused on renting activities, real estate analysts told Business Arena. At the same time, they have identified two major trends that they believe will have a strong impact on the local market in the near future.
Thus, analysts claim that rental operations have gained around 24 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2010, while the newly completed office space supply decreased by some 21 per cent from the same period of last year.  
According to Ctlin Mruntelu, research analyst for BNP Paribas Real Estate, the prevalence of such trends will result in a decrease in available office space, especially in central or secondary areas, with good access to public transportation. Mruntelu admitted however that compared to other areas of the real estate market, the office segment had been less affected in previous years. “Now the demand for office space has become more active, going past the stage where it was almost entirely created by property owners and real estate agents. Even if the construction of new office buildings has slowed down significantly, projects such as Ana Tower, Floreasca City, Nusco Tower II and AFI Business Park Cotroceni have been announced in order to meet the demand for 2012 - 2013.”
Referring to the projects that are currently under construction, Mirela Raicu, partner with Esop Consulting, told Business Arena that some 130,000 sqm of office space would be delivered in 2011, representing less than 50 per cent compared to last year’s 270,000 sqm. In addition, she said that the figure was particularly low compared to the 2009 level, when the total volume of office space delivered reached nearly 400,000 sqm, based on projects launched before the onset of the crisis, in 2007 – 2008. According to Esop Consulting’s data, the total stock of available office space stood at 595,000 sqm in office buildings (in 371 properties) and 111,402 sqm in villas (in 327 properties) at the beginning of the third quarter. “What is important is not just the total volume of office space, but also its quality and positioning. Perhaps nearly half of these properties have at least one of the following major problems: they are located outside companies’ current areas of interest, have a standard that is no longer satisfying and the rent level is too high.  So from tenants’ point of view the real valid options are not so many,” said Mirela Raicu.

To read the full version, see the print edition of Business Arena.

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