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Singapore's Office Rental Market Soars, Defying Global Trends


Lauren Miller

March 27, 2024 - 04:10 am


Singapore's Office Rents Hit 15-Year Peak Despite Global Property Gloom

In what appears to be a striking exception in the current global economic climate, Singapore's commercial real estate sector has experienced a surge in office rents. Defying a widespread slump that has challenged other major financial capitals, Singapore's office rentals in the Central Business District have ascended to heights not seen in the last decade and a half.

Office Rentals in Singapore Soar to Unprecedented Levels

According to the latest data from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., office rents in Singapore's central business district witnessed a dramatic increase during the first quarter of the year. Premium office space now commands gross effective monthly rents of S$11.42 (approximately $8.48) per square foot. This marks the highest rate since the final quarter of 2008, effectively overturning the 0.5% decline observed in the previous two quarters.

Contrary to what other major financial markets are experiencing, Singapore has admirably managed to sidestep a significant downswing in the commercial property market sector. Analysts note that the sustained buoyancy of office rents in the city-state can be primarily attributed to a robust return-to-office movement coupled with an uptick in private wealth generation.

"With an uptick in enquiry levels, primarily propelled by industries specializing in professional and financial services as well as the consumer goods sectors, we are witnessing a market resilience that bodes well for the local economy," stated Andrew Tangye, JLL Singapore's head of office leasing and advisory.

Decreasing Vacancies and a Patchwork of Demand

The robust uptrend in office rents has been accompanied by a tightening of the market in terms of vacancy rates. In the first quarter, prime office space vacancies dwindled to a post-pandemic low of 5.3%, inching down from the previous quarter's 5.5%. This decline in vacancy rates further reinforces the market's strength.

However, the leasing activity presents a mixed picture with smaller and intermediate-sized tenants being the foremost participants, whereas demand from larger corporations remains tepid. Illustrating this trend, Meta Platforms Inc. has declared an intention to downscale its office footprint in Singapore in the latter half of the current year.

A forward-looking concern for the market is that a significant amount of new office space is projected to be unoccupied in the imminent years. JLL forecasts that over 1.5 million square feet of office space scheduled to become available in 2024 and 2025 has not yet been locked down by tenants.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority estimates suggest that the completion of over 3 million square feet—equivalent to roughly 300,000 square meters—of office space is on the cards for this year. This figure vastly exceeds the quantity of space that was introduced to the market in the previous year.

A Resilient Hub in a World of Uncertainty

Singapore's commercial real estate landscape is clearly navigating through the global commercial property malaise with remarkable resilience. This phenomenon is particularly striking as the largest Western cities, along with regional competitors like Hong Kong, are grappling with the pressures of a distressed market.

In a statement, Andrew Tangye elucidated the current situation, remarking on the elevated levels of enquiries from businesses. This interest comes mainly from sectors that remain robust despite economic headwinds—finance, professional services, and luxury consumer goods are continuing to seek premium office space in Singapore.

The city-state has so far avoided a major downturn in the commercial real estate market.

The city-state has so far avoided a major downturn in the commercial real estate market. - Bloomberg

"Leasing dynamics are currently skewed towards enterprises of a certain scale, with those requiring smaller office spaces being more active in securing leases. Larger companies are showing a more cautious approach in this environment," Tangye further clarified.

This observation holds true for tech giants like Meta Platforms Inc., which is planning on reducing its office area in Singapore, reflecting a cautious approach towards expansive physical office space amidst evolving work patterns post-pandemic.

The looming challenge is the considerable upcoming influx of new office space. According to JLL's calculations, a significant square footage remains tenant-less, casting a cloud of uncertainty over the immediate future. This anticipated surplus is all the more noticeable when evaluating the 3 million square feet that are ready to be completed this year—a stark contrast against last year's more moderated additions to the market.

These figures presented by the Urban Redevelopment Authority underscore a potential concern for the future: whether there will be sufficient demand to absorb this burgeoning supply of office space.

Navigating Future Uncertainties

The upcoming years will be critical for Singapore’s office rent market, as it approaches a period where there seems to be a disparity between supply and anticipated demand. The data indicating that more than 1.5 million square feet of prime office space may go without tenants upon completion is an issue that developers and city planners will need to address.

JLL's outlook, while cautious, is fundamentally optimistic. Fluctuations in tenant demand, especially from large occupiers, reflect broader economic cycles and market sentiments. As the city-state remains a pivotal hub within the Asia-Pacific region, its enticing business environment may well continue to fuel office space demand.

The forthcoming additional 3 million square feet of office space is part of Singapore's forward-thinking urban development strategy. This strategy aims to maintain the city-state's status as a premier business destination, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.


Singapore’s office market appears resilient in the face of international property market fluctuations. The high demand for premium office space has propelled rents to their highest levels in 15 years, demonstrating solid market fundamentals and a robust local economy.

This level of market performance in the current international context—where some of the largest Western cities and regional competitors are showing a downturn in the commercial real estate space—is particularly commendable.

As global cities continue to adjust to post-pandemic realities, Singapore's commercial real estate sector has showcased its ability to remain stable and prosperous. This fiscal quarter's pivotal growth in office rents—paired with low vacancies—signifies a booming market, albeit one that could face supply challenges in the near future.

The next few years will reveal whether Singapore's strategic approach to development and ability to attract diverse businesses can sustain this momentum in office rental demand.

The dynamism of the city-state’s commercial real estate market will be tested against the intricacies of a global economy seeking equilibrium post-pandemic. The picture that emerges in Singapore could serve as a barometer for wider trends across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P. has provided insightful outlooks into Singapore's office rental market. Their detailed analysis paints a clear picture of a sector that has withstood the tide and is innovating to maintain its competitive edge in challenging times.

In conclusion, Singapore's defiance of the commercial property slump signals strong market fundamentals and could potentially offer a playbook for other cities looking to navigate similar economic challenges.

For further insights and data, you can access the original report by visiting Bloomberg at

Singapore's stable yet dynamic commercial real estate market, against a contrasting global backdrop, keeps industry observers and potential investors carefully watching. Will Singapore continue to tread its unique path of growth, or will it succumb to the pressures faced by its global counterparts? The coming years will undeniably provide the answers.