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Both NSW and QLD need to revitalise their CBDs

The latest results from the ANZ/Property Council Survey show that, while confidence levels in the real estate industry have risen in both Queensland and New South Wales, ghostly city centres in both states are continuing to cause concern.

“The country is facing its biggest economic recovery task in a generation, however with an election campaign also underway, Queensland has an additional challenge in restoring confidence within the industry,” Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford said.

“While most sectors of the property industry have seen a slight improvement in confidence, commercial office growth expectations have gone backwards over the past quarter.

“Survey results have also shown a huge spike in respondents identifying ‘vibrant city centres’ as a critical issue to be addressed by State Governments.”

The Property Council is hoping that Queensland’s political candidates will campaign for citizens to ‘return to the city’ campaign to “drive the reactivation” of Brisbane’s CBD.

Related: ScoMo and the PCA want you to get back to the office

“The Prime Minister recently ordered all federal public servants back to the office where it is safe to do so,” Mr Mountford added.

“With very few new cases of COVID in Queensland, the Property Council is calling on state political leaders to echo the Prime Minister’s call and encourage state public servants and businesses to return to their office.”

NSW property industry confidence has increased by eight index points to 84 over the quarter, while Queensland has increased slightly from 71 index points in the September quarter to 79 index points for the December quarter.

A score of 100 is considered neutral.

“The last six months have been challenging for all sectors of the property industry with impacts still ongoing, so it is good to see that there has been a further uplift in confidence,” Acting Property Council NSW Executive Director, Belinda Ngo said.

“Overall, there is support and positivity in relation to the work by the NSW Government to keep construction going and focus on a strong future pipeline of work throughout the pandemic to keep people in jobs and support the economic recovery of NSW.

Ms Ngo said, while it is encouraging to see the NSW Government leading the way in driving the economic recovery of the state, there is still a way to go.

“We would also like to see this good work continue in getting people back into our CBDs and into offices to reactivate our city centres and support local businesses,” Ms Ngo continued.

Related: WA property industry the most positive in Australia

“There has been some great work done already with the Summer Business Summit being held to bring together ideas on how to create vital economic activity within our city centres, and we would like to see this continue with strong strategies put in place to revive our CBD economies and boost productivity right across the state, both directly and indirectly.”

Western Australia’s office capital growth expectations jumped from the most negative to the least negative in Australia, which PCA explained was the result of “a gradual improvement in return to office work for many CBD-based employees”.

Last month, Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison echoed the PM’s call for public servants to return to their offices, asking for other businesses and workers to do likewise.

“You can’t have economic recovery without thriving CBD economies,” Mr Morrison said.

Related: Property confidence rises in SA but plummets in ACT

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