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'Work from home' fails to slow commercial property demand

While the 'work from home' culture might be more prevalent post-pandemic, Harcourts New Zealand say this hasn’t affected the commercial property market. Businesses in many sectors are embracing team culture, upgraded premises, and the feasibility of working from a provincial base like never before.

Bryan Thomson, Managing Director of Harcourts New Zealand, says that the commercial property market is very strong in 2021 and will remain so, with well-located, well-presented industrial property still sought after.  

There has also been a change in demand for office space, reflective of a world coming back to life post-pandemic.

A common theme during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was for businesses to shut offices and send staff home. For many industries though, the much-discussed ‘new normal’ of working remotely either didn’t transpire or didn’t prove feasible over the long term.

Commercial property still strong

“Companies that might have required c-class office accommodation before COVID-19 are moving into b-class office accommodation,” says Bryan. “This means vacancy rates diminish and developers can move in and regenerate the asset, creating something revitalised out of something old.

“Human beings are herd animals – we survive on companionship and working together, so I don’t think that we are destined to work in isolation forever. The office environment remains crucial for many businesses. I know it does for our national teams at Harcourts.”

Greater flexibility around where certain sectors can base themselves thanks to advances in communications technology, has also seen commercial property markets in many provincial areas come to life.

Harcourts MD Bryan Thomson Split block image

"The office environment remains crucial for many businesses.

I know it does for our national teams at Harcourts.”

Bryan Thomson
Managing Director, Harcourts New Zealand

The future of property ownership

While other types of investments such as managed funds and the share market have become more accessible to more people, Bryan is adamant that investing in property remains the gold standard for growth and security.

“Occasionally there will be stories in the media about future generations not being interested in owning property, but personally I think that notion is ridiculous,” he states. “People love to own property. It’s about family and stability and growing an asset. It remains an intrinsic part of our make-up, especially in this country where we are all so lucky to live.

“There are fantastic businesses in fantastic communities all over New Zealand – many places where running a successful business might have been difficult a generation ago. As a result, I believe the commercial market remains strong and will broaden and become stronger yet.”

A trusted partner

Regardless of market specifics, a distinct through-line for Harcourts New Zealand over recent years has been its long-term partnership with Crombie Lockwood as its insurance broker.

“When you’re in business there are rewards, but there are also risks. Adverse circumstances tend to come with no warning, so you need to be prepared for such a situation. Crombie Lockwood is a very strong business partner, and they have our back. Harcourts is very proud to be associated with them,” Bryan concludes.


Disclaimer: Harcourts is New Zealand’s largest and most trusted real estate group*, with over 2,300 sales consultants across 194 offices and a growing property management team. For more information visit harcourts.co.nz. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in the publication is accurate we recommend that before relying on this information you seek independent specialist advice.
*Readers Digest Most Trusted Brand Survey 2013-2021.

Published July 2021