The United States offered companies the greatest opportunities to reduce their overheads in 2012, with occupancy costs per workstation falling by 10.9%.
This was driven by an 11.8% decrease in space utilization — the amount of space each worker is allocated — with the biggest decreases recorded in Washington DC (-17%) and Los Angeles (-14%).
Even with the move to greater space efficiency, the US still has the most space per employee on average.
The findings were contained in a new Global Occupany Costs report from DTZ, a UGL company, which revealed that the cost for companies to provide office space for theirworkers in North Asia increased by 6.3% during 2012, outstripping the global average increase of 1%. The sixteenth annual GOCO report highlights significant regional differences — while some markets saw sustained growth, others such as the US experienced weaker levels of demand due to economic and political uncertainty. DTZ’s report analyses the main components of occupancy costs per workstation across 126 business districts in 49 countries across the globe, ranking each location based on costs per workstation per annum.
It includes rents and outgoings, such as maintenance costs and property tax, and takes into account variability of space utilisation standards by measuring costs on a per workstation basis rather than just per square metre.
While growth was recorded in Central & South America (0.6%), Europe (0.9%) and Middle East & Africa (1.4%), this remained below the global inflation rate of 3.2%.
In contrast North Asia (at 6.3%) and South Asia (3.7%) witnessed growth above the global inflation rate, due primarily to strong domestic consumption and activity from non-financial sectors eager to tap into the region’s brighter growth prospects. Increases in these regions were driven by Beijing and Jakarta (at 17.7% and 20.7% respectively).
Karine Woodford, head of occupier research at DTZ, commented: “The US was undoubtedly one of the stories of the year, with occupancy costs per workstation falling in every city.
“Demand for space was low, reflecting a sluggish labour market and weak corporate sentiment, but the biggest reason for the decline was a trend across the board for greater space efficiency. We do however expect US occupancy costs to increase over the next two years, albeit at a muted rate compared to elsewhere in the world.”