The Vienna Research Forum only counts office space built since 1990 or renovated. Also, some minimal criteria have to be met to be considered for further analysis. Certified quality criteria are for example indoor climate, elevators or IT standards. For buildings used as office and living space, the office space must be predominant. There are also minimal requirements about the buildings itself, the offices, the location and sustainability to be included in the database. “The old database counting work stations was no longer sufficient for the real estate sector. It often included office space in schools, factories or very small office spaces. It was just counting work places instead of evaluating the office space market”, Bosak said. “This data was updated regularly since 1991, but without structural standards investors need for orientation”, he continued.
“A professional real estate sector needs transparent and internationally comparable data, which is being continuously checked and harmonized by leading real estate companies”, Bosak explained. “With the future office space ascertainment based on the Vienna Research Forum’s standard, Vienna will improve its standing as an important business hub. A transparent market bears less risk and is therefore more interesting for investors”, he added.
Location Vienna: Definition of submarkets leads to quality and transparency
The Viennese office space market is divided with its most significant office centers into eight exactly defined submarkets or regions and thus standardized: CBD (inner districts), Donaucity, Prater/Lassallestrasse, Erdberg – St. Marx (east), Hauptbahnhof (central train station), Wienerberg (south), North and West. “Investors ask specifically for certain districts and regions when looking for locations”, Bosak explained. Vienna has a total of some 10.850.000 square meters of office space, but only 51 per cent – 5.534.438 square meters – conform at present with modern and internationally comparable office standards. These were examined according to VRF classifications and submarkets. “70 per cent of all rental services deal with locations meeting VRF standards”, said Bosak. 7,1 per cent of all office space (769.602 square meters) was not included, since certain minimal, respectively quality criteria were not met. However, these spaces have potential for improvement according to VRF standards.
2.250.000 square meters used by small enterprises
Also not included were roughly 20 per cent of office spaces (2.250.000 square meters) in multi-use buildings, in which office spaces consist of under 50 per cent or with surface areas under 1.000 square meters. Bosak explained: “About 20 per cent of all office spaces were offices mostly under 250 square meters and used by enterprises with up to 10 employees, start-up enterprises, shared office spaces and one-person enterprises. You’ll find these spaces mostly in apartment buildings.” Another 21,2 per cent of office space (2.296.000 square meters) are not up to VRF standards. Bosak: “About a fifth of the overall office market are small office spaces in production facilities or municipal buildings like schools or universities, as well as facilities erected before 1990 and not conforming to modern standards. A part of this remaining space is planned for conversion. These spaces are still based to a good part on the old work station census and don’t play a significant role for the modern office market”, he explained.
Current vacancies 7 per cent
The analysis of the second quarter 2016 shows the percentage of modern office space vacancies according to VFR standard at 7 per cent. “The market needs a vacancy rate in the range of 5 to 7 per cent to remain flexible, so this is totally desirable”, said Bosak. If the rate were lower, it would indicate a low construction activity and less confidence in the market of the country. After all, it takes five to ten years for a construction project from the planning stage to completion.
More information: www.viennaresearchforum.at