Signs of recovery seen as BPO office demand grows 160%

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The Philippine office market appears ready to take off and resume its pre-pandemic growth trajectory, according to a study by Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC).

Demand for office space nationwide grew by 38 percent from 122,000 square meters (sqm) in the first quarter of 2021 to 169,00 sqm. in the second quarter.

Office demand is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic, LPC chief executive officer David Leechiu said. As of the first half of 2021, demand is now at 291,000 sqm.

“This is already 75 percent of demand for the entire 2020. There is no doubt that the Philippines is back on the radar of global occupiers,” Leechiu said.

Even more significant is that the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry accounted for 92,000 sqm. or 54 percent of second quarter 2021 demand.

It grew by 160 percent from the first quarter’s 35,000 sqm. “driven by economic stability in the West”.

“Even if they were relatively quiet in 2020, BPOs are back,” Leechiu said. “The same fundamentals that attracted BPOs to the Philippines during the financial crisis of 2008 are once again working for us.”

Investor sentiment has improved with the rollout Covid-19 vaccines and the passage of Senate Bill 2232 which clarified tax concerns of Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs).

With the reopening of international borders, POGOs are expected to revive their interest in the Philippine office market and further prime the country’s economic recovery.

All these events have aligned to support the Philippine office market. Its resurgence this quarter is a strong and clear indicator of recovery, the study said.

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