Offices: the sector faces a new challenge, will it overcome it?
Analysts affirm that, in the absence of any extraordinary situation, as the months go by this return will become more pronounced. Work schemes that are being evaluated at this time will also be defined, especially what has to do with schedules, teams that alternate face-to-face and virtual, and the logistics of each of the organizations.
If the sector manages to start 2022 -says Ferrero- maintaining the trend of the last quarter, it will be possible for the market to interpret it as a positive sign. This would encourage sustained investment growth throughout the coming year.
On the other hand, the referents expect a great movement, which would come from the relocation of a large number of companies. “This circumstance would impact the entire market, it will not be something exclusive to one or another category or to large, medium or small companies,” says Mariana Stange, founder of Mariana Stange Real Estate.
Another phenomenon of these times is that there are many factors that will invite the different companies to venture into the odyssey of facing a move. One of the main engines for this is the work modes that came with the new normality. “The current work model, without a doubt, offers companies a reduction in idle surfaces. On the other hand, the depreciation of rental values encourages the so-called fly to quality or to improve the location of the offices. This variable can be encouraged to improve the quality of the property or to achieve a more optimal destination for most of the collaborators. Both are trends that began to manifest themselves this year”, says Patricio Weiss, president of Castro Cranwell & Weiss. Stange adds that “to a large extent these decisions will come from the search for the well-being of the staff in their work spaces. These are strategies that will not only be tried to invite collaborators to return to face-to-face activities, but also to retain talent.”
For the future, in the short and medium term, the great search of the companies will be to generate sustainable and harmonic offices. But for Guido Mosin, Research Manager at JLL, not all building owners are adapting well to this new scenario. “As always, the market will have winners and losers. The successful ones will be the ones that first adapt to the needs of the clients. Unfortunately, we notice that there are some owners who are still not very flexible and, without a doubt, that could cost you quite dearly”, says Mosin.
For this year that begins, coworking firms also began to design their new strategy. From Wework they seek to capture a new expansion process according to the new reality. “Our intention will be to look for smaller locations in different neighborhoods. The objective is to bring work spaces closer to people’s homes. Today the model calls for closeness or decentralization, and that is why we aim to grow in the main cities of Argentina, responding to this new format that will undoubtedly change the business model”, says Tomás Calusio, director of WeWork Argentina.
According to the indications that the last quarter of 2021 began to show, for next year there are several areas that are projected as the protagonists. “One that does not stop adding followers is Palermo, it is followed by the different sections of the so-called North corridor of the city. We must dedicate a separate paragraph to Catalinas, this one will surely give us a surprise”, Mosin risks.
According to Stange, one of the poles with potential is the Technological District (DT), which is increasingly seen both by companies seeking to change their location and by investors. “We believe that Parque de los Patricios, hand in hand with DT, will be one of the most chosen corners of Buenos Aires during 2022. Not only did a large number of SMEs move there this year, but it also garnered countless queries from large companies that were looking for new spaces,” says the broker. “The center with the great drop in values, as a result of the high vacancy, will be chosen by many companies that require accessibility and low fixed costs”, expands. Weiss includes in the group of stars for 2022 the North corridor, which runs along Del Libertador avenue, in the section of the province of Buenos Aires that goes from General Paz to Márquez avenue.
Newmark Argentina reveals that as of today there are 236,320 profitable square meters of class A offices under construction, of which it is expected that during 2022 78,067 m2 will be incorporated. “More than 40% of this area will enter the North GBA submarket; while 32% to North CABA”, says Mosin. And Rafael Valera, senior broker at Cushman & Wakefield, expands: “The largest number of large-scale and latest-generation projects are currently being developed in the Panamericana corridor and Camino Bancalari.”
For Elbio Stoler, Founder and Director of ADN Developers -which currently runs several office complexes-, the great engine of the development of the new areas has to do with the evolution of both residential and commercial areas. “The excellent accesses, the growth of luxury residential developments added to the great offer of commercial and gastronomic services of category invite the growth of the office market. This is what is happening, for example, in Belgrano. There more and more high-end offices are installed. On the other hand, there is an increasingly strong tendency, and accelerated by the pandemic, to live close to where you work, and that is why companies are moving to where their managers and most employees reside, ”says Stoler.
In what has to do with values, specialists maintain that they have already reached a bottom, and the recovery that began these months will deepen throughout 2022. “Although, this is a kind of futurology, since we do not know With certainty how the evolution of the pandemic will continue – if there are no unfortunate events – logic would say that we are facing the increase in the prices of both class B and premium offices. In this last segment today the average values per square meter are between the US$24 y los US$28; while in category B the average prices are between US$15 y los US$18/m2, depending as always on the location and condition of the properties.
A fact that is not minor -says Gonzalo Pellejero, manager of offices and premises of the Adrián Mercado Group- is that there is still vacant stock in both categories in very accessible values. Something that many companies consider a tempting opportunity. “These meters will be absorbed in the coming months and the aforementioned values will be consolidated. If all this happens, without a doubt, the rental prices would experience an increase by mid-2022, “says the broker of the Mercado Group.
For Pablo Papadópulos, office division manager of LJ Ramos, giving a forecast on prices, absorption and vacancy level is a bit risky, since beyond the health situation, some not minor economic issues still need to be resolved, such as: budget 2022, agreement with the IMF and also some decisions of an economic nature that are part of the political agenda. “There is still a lot of room available to pretend that the values start with an upward trend, beyond the expectations that some operators may have. It is worth remembering that the premium office market currently has some 250,000 m² available free, and the historical net demand -when the real GDP grew above 3%- stood at 50,000 m²/year”, concludes the executive of LJ Ramos.
The offices 2022
The pandemic, the new normality and the gradual return to daily activities define a new scenario, both work and real estate (in both cases, unknown) which little by little began to define new health and bonding needs. This new way of relating began to translate into the new work spaces, which according to those who know about the subject (architects and brokers) are beginning to mutate. “Many of these changes will be critical to both retaining and attracting talent. Today the policy of spaces and the modality of work took on a much greater importance than before the declaration of the pandemicCalusio says.
According to industry leaders, office 2022 should be:
– Flexibility and fluidity. These times demand suitable spaces to be used by different collaborators at different times. These must be relaxed and have collaborative characteristics. In other words, they must offer the possibility of assembling and rearranging spaces according to the different needs of employees.
– Technology. Hybrid work allows the possibility of working simultaneously with both with all team members. Beyond the place from where you are carrying out your activity.
– Biofilia. This trend comes from the hand of neuroarchitecture and contemplates the creation of green spaces within the office, relaxation areas that include pleasant sounds and textures. This is one of the premises of those responsible for human resources to generate well-being among collaborators.
– terraces and balconies. Having outdoor spaces is top on the list of requirements. Without a doubt, this trend will become the new standard for the post-Pandemic office.
– Amenities. The new office must have spaces for storing bicycles and electric skateboards (this modality is increasingly used for Commuting), bathrooms that offer the possibility of showering and outdoor areas where leisure can be combined with community work.