MAKATI CBD. Makati central business district is home to bulk of offices spaces in the country. The office market in the Philippines is expected to further recover this year as employees are ordered to return to their workplaces. (File photo)

MANILA – As the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions eased and workers are urged to return to their workplaces, the Philippine office market is expected to stabilize occupancy rate for 2022, a professional services and investment management firm said.

During the Colliers Philippine property market briefing Thursday, the company has seen a positive net absorption on office spaces in the first quarter this year, riding the return-to-office (RTO) momentum.

Colliers Philippines Office services-tenant representation senior director Dom Frederick Andaya said the office market had a net take-up of 26,400 square meters in January to March this year, the first positive net take-up after seven consecutive quarters of negative absorption.

“The return-to-office and expansion plans of companies buoyed by improving pandemic situation and economic stimulus measures should accelerate take-up for the remainder of 2022,” Andaya added.

For the full year 2022, net absorption for office space is projected to reach 350,000 square meters.

More office space will be completed this year, adding 821,900 square meters of available office space, 60 percent of which are located in Ortigas central business district, Makati fringe, and the Bay Area.

Colliers Philippines also advised tenants to take advantage of lower office rents, which declined by 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.

It added that office rents have plummeted by 30 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. (PNA)