Quarterly Report Qatar Q3 2020: Office Market Overview
Demand for office space reduces as COVID-19 puts corporate strategies on hold
Cushman and Wakefield estimate that overall office supply in Doha has now reached approximately 4.9 million sq m. More than 30% of office accommodation is situated in West Bay, Qatar’s central business district. More than 11% of supply is in Lusail’s Marina District, where supply has doubled over in the past 24 months.
The rapid increase in supply has seen vacancy rates reach more than 60% in the Marina District – twice the overall market level – however, increasing interest from occupiers is likely to see a significant increase in office take-up in the district over the next two years. As the Marina District matures, we expect to see tenants attracted by competitive rents, transport and parking provisions, and the increasing amenities and F&B on offer.
New office demand has reduced over the past six months, as many companies re-assess their corporate strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased economic uncertainty has resulted in some proposed office acquisitions and relocations being put on-hold in 2020, while there has also been evidence of companies in Qatar deciding to downsize their office requirements.
The recent lack of rental activity and increasing availability is continuing to put downward pressure on office rents and increase the incentives on offer to attract occupiers. CAT A and fitted office space in West Bay is typically available for between QAR 100 and QAR 140 per sqm per month exclusive of service charges, although tenants can secure rent-free periods on some buildings. Prime, CAT-A specification offices in Lusail are available for QAR 90 to QAR 120 per sqm per month, reflecting the fact that it is a new district trying to attract tenants and build occupancy rates.
Shell-and-core offices are now available to lease for between QAR 80 and QAR 100 per sq m per month in West Bay. Shell-and-core offices in secondary locations can be leased for as little as QAR 60 per sq m per month.
Private sector demand for offices is almost exclusively concentrated on CAT A or fitted offices, as companies look to minimise the capital expenditure required to fit out shell-and-core space. As new buildings complete and the volume of available space increases, Cushman and Wakefield expect the amount of office accommodation fitted to CAT-A standard to increase as landlords compete for the smaller pool of prospective tenants.