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Companies return offices in SP, and vacancy rises

The average vacancy of offices in the country reached 25.2% in the third quarter, according to data from SiiLA Brasil, a real estate information platform. The index, 0.7 percentage points higher than the previous quarter's rate, is above the range of 12% to 15%, considered healthy for the segment.

The national unemployment rate is mainly driven by the performance of São Paulo (SP), which accounts for more than 60% of the volume of corporate slabs in Brazil.

In the second quarter, the net absorption of the inventory of offices in São Paulo – the balance of leased square meters minus the volume delivered – was positive at almost 9,000 square meters, interrupting a sequence of four quarters of negative rates. The apparent resumption, which accompanied the advance in vaccination against Covid-19, encouraged the segment.

However, the third quarter brought negative news for the sector, according to Giancarlo Nicastro, CEO of SiiLA Brasil. In an interview with Clube FII this Thursday (28), he informed that the net absorption in the capital of São Paulo was again negative in more than 57 thousand square meters – which means that more offices were delivered than leased.

The result in the period is mainly attributed to the returns made by the companies Novonor, formerly Odebrecht, and Uber, which is migrating to Osasco (SP).

"Talking to some companies that are returning spaces, they report that they do not project a recovery of the economy in a short period of time", reported Nicastro. "With the future undefined, companies are putting off going back to the offices, and they don't want to be tied to longer contracts.

"Regions considered primary for the corporate slab segment – Vila Olímpia and Brigadeiro Faria Lima, Juscelino Kubitschek and Paulista avenues – have an average vacancy of around 10% and continue to be occupied by large companies. According to Nicastro, the big problem is the companies that are most vulnerable to the current economic scenario and do not have occupants in the primary regions.

"The Pinheiros region and Luís Carlos Berrini and Dr Chucri Zaidan avenues have vacancy rates above 20% and are having a frightening volume of returns," said Nicastro. "In more alternative regions, such as Santo Amaro, the rate reaches 50% and hurts the market as a whole."

In the analysis since the beginning of the pandemic, the financial sector behaviour, which historically occupies more offices in Brazil, has influenced the vacancy of corporate slabs. The area occupied by the segment decreased by almost 12% between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021.

"The financial sector has adapted well to the remote work scheme and has been accommodating and returning floors from quarter to quarter. In general, the movement has disturbed the dynamics of offices a little", said Nicastro.

Given the turbulent economic and political scenario, SiiLA Brasil projects high office vacancies in 2022. According to the platform's projections, the beginning of the recovery in the segment would only take place in 2023.

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