The Dutch office vacancy rate is closer to 27%, rather than the accepted 15%, because over six million square metres is rented but is not being used, according to advisory group AOS Studley in Saturday’s Financieele Dagblad.
This ‘hidden’ empty office space is the market’s blind spot, AOS Studley director Harold Coenders told the paper.
Many companies have reduced the size of their workforce but are tied to property rental contracts.
‘Reducing the rental contract is much slower than letting staff go,’ Coenders told the paper. As a result, office blocks which have been rented out contain floors and rooms which are not being used.
Coenders expects this extra space to gradually reach the market, further pressuring prices.
Cuno van Steenhoven, head of real estate broker DTZ Zadelhof, said he is not surprised by the figures but argues that not all empty office space should be considered to be the same.
‘A Dutch vacancy rate says nothing,’ Van Steenhoven told the paper. ‘There is no national office market. It is one of micro markets at the level of a postcode. If you want to rent in Utrecht, the vacancy rate in Groningen is meaningless.’