Office space market sees growth in 2018 on back of BPO resurgence

The office property market is expected to continue expanding next year with a resurgence of the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) and growth of the offshore online gaming industry.

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David Leechiu, chief executive officer of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), said they are anticipating a “dramatic resurgence” of the IT-BPM industry in 2018 resulting from reaffirmed relations with the US and the approval of the bicameral version of the comprehensive tax reform law, which is friendly to the IT-BPM industry.

Leechiu noted the recent upgrade of the country’s credit rating is also a positive development.

“A handful of the world’s largest companies by market capitalization are in final stages of setting up shared services operations that will be employing tens of thousands of Filipinos, which will assure the world that all is well in the Philippines,” he said in a press briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Leechiu said there is a “very good chance” that Metro Manila office take-up would reach 800,000 to 850,000 square meters in 2018.

Metro Manila office take-up rate is forecast in 2017 to register at an all-time high of 750,000. As of end-November, take-up was at 728,305 square meters.

“The exponential growth from the offshore online gaming industry fuelled robust office demand and more than made up for a slack from the IT-business process manufacturing industry,” he said.

Leechiu further said online gaming expanded by 306 percent from only 56,700 square meters in 2016 to 230,102 square meters as of the end of November.

IT-BPM take-up, on the other hand, was 28-percent less at 347,660 square meters as of November from 485,100 square meters in 2016.

Online gaming firms took up spaces mostly in Bay City, the business districts rising along Manila Bay. Bay City accounted for 67 percent of all online gaming take-up as of last month.

Meanwhile, vacancy rate across Metro Manila registered at a manageable 6.62 percent. — Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

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