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India Office Outlook 2024

15/02/2024

In 2023, India remained in the global spotlight despite uncertainty and fragile business conditions witnessed across major economies as the Indian IT industry defied the trend of layoffs and withstood high-magnitude economic meltdowns. 2024 is likely to be a significant year for India’s office market marked with accelerated growth & renewed optimism. 

With domestic office demand reaching a historical high of 74.7 msf, surpassing the previous record set in 2022 followed by limited supply in core markets, 2024 is the right year to invest in tier 2 cities. Moreover, with discussions surrounding return to office likely to fade away followed by a 2 fold expansion in flex space operators, the office space is likely to undergo a fast transformation. 

In the India Office Outlook 2024 report, we present an in-depth analysis of top seven trends shaping India’s office market that are instrumental in strategic decision making.

Top 7 trends to lookout for in 2024:

Economic resilience meets technological prowess
Discussions on Return to office likely to fade away
Demand- set for continued strength
Robust supply pipeline paving the way for growth in 2024
Rental growth is coming back
Flex momentum & ESG compliance: a dual Surge
Perspective 2024: accelerated growth & renewed optimism


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Top 7 trends to lookout for in 2024
:

  1. Economic resilience meets technological prowess: The Indian economy is growing at a faster pace in comparison to other economies. As we enter 2024, the headwinds globally will continue, but prospects in India will remain the brightest. Revenue within the Indian technological industry has grown 3x between 2010 and 2023 and is expected to reach USD 500bn by 2030. The current trend and data points indicate a cyclic recovery, bringing back the period of high growth for the Indian tech sector. Moreover, the current downturn is expected to be transient, and FY 2025 will see a revival in digital innovation investments, leading to new projects and job creations benefiting the IT/ITeS industry in India. Additionally, the temporary slowdown will have minimal impact on the property markets across major cities such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad as employment gains in the last three years are still to fully translate into office demand.

  2. Discussions on Return to office likely to fade away: With concerns around factors such as collaboration, innovation, and efficiency among CREs and business leaders, the focus has been to bring employees back to office with a firm focus on productivity. 2023 saw mandates from some companies asking employees a complete return to office and others offering hybrid work strategies with 2-3 days/week. Average space utilization was recorded between 100-300bps depending on the sector. On average, office occupancy rate has increased to 70% as of Nov 2023, in comparison to a 40-50% at the end of 2022. Hybrid work model has emerged as a win-win for both employers and employees. As a result, tier-2 cities are receiving a rise in office space enquiries as organizations are looking to grab this opportunity for flexibility and talent attraction / retention.  

  3. Demand- set for continued strength: Office leasing has sustained across all markets in 2023 attributed to positive occupier sentiments. Pent-up demand for offices has reached a historical high of 74.7 msf surpassing the previous record of 2022. Indian firms are significant contributors with more than 40% share in office leasing. While office demand in the first half of 2023 was dominated by small and mid-sized deals, several larger deals took over in the second half and are likely to conclude in 2024. IT-BPM, among others, accounted for more than 60% of the demand. Global Capability Centers (GCCs) have continued to scale up with more than 80 GCCs newly established or expanded during the year. A city-wise space division suggests maximum office demand in Bengaluru (16.0 msf) followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai. A 3-5% YOY growth in annual office demand is projected. This trend is likely to continue- office occupancy in the tech industry is a must-watch trend for Corporate Real Estate (CREs) & business leaders as 850,000 hirings from 2020 are yet to translate into complete office occupancy.

  4. Robust supply pipeline paving the way for growth in 2024: A surge in supply continued in 2023 post a high record in 2022. 47.8 msf has entered the market and was accompanied by a strong tenant demand consuming the increased supply across all cities. Bengaluru was one of the top cities, accounting for nearly 55% of the Pan India supply. Moreover, 55-60 msf on new supply is likely to enter the market in 2024 owing to the growing demand for quality space. However, conditions in core markets such as Mumbai have led to tight vacancies and limited supply. Moreover, the influx of new supply has reshaped non-core markets with 43% of the leasing activity concentrated in these areas over the last 2 years Hence, it is advisable for occupiers to explore non-core markets to acquire office space in the near future.

  5. Rental growth is coming back: While rents were stable in 2023, the trend is likely to change in the next couple of years. 2024 and 2025 are likely to witness a rental growth owing to the increased occupancy demands and space enquiries. Consequently, rental rates across top 8 cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad) are expected to increase by 3-5% over the next 12 months with GCCs fueling rental growth. This trend has led to shift in landlord sentiments i.e., reduction in landlords’ flexibility, a 4-5% increase in occupancy cost, and willingness to start early rental renewals and restructuring decisions. Simultaneously occupiers are now seeking central locations that are less susceptible to rental growth to acquire and retain talent. 

  6. Flex momentum & ESG compliance: a dual Surge: Flex as a trend has gained heavy momentum since the onset of the pandemic. The trend has led to an increase in co-working space demand wherein occupiers implement hub-spoke strategies. Enterprises have leased nearly 350,000 seats (translates to ~25 msf) since pandemic and 1/3rd of these seats were leased in 2023 alone marking it the highest ever. While an aggressive increase in footprint in tier 1 cities is witnessed by the top 10 operators, other enterprises are looking to expand footprint in tier 2 cities. Looking ahead to 2024-25, sustainable practices have become of utmost priority directing CRE leaders to redefine strategies based on ESG, return to work, workspace amenities and the evolving employee-company connection. Consequently, developers are now investing additional CAPEX and ESG-specific clauses to ensure green-certified buildings. 

  7. Perspective 2024: accelerated growth & renewed optimism: Although the tech sector witnessed a global slowdown, the Indian IT industry continued to perform well through high magnitudes of disruption. The commercial office market witnessed robust performance with a comeback of office space demand. Domestic firms replaced spaces previously occupied by global organizations. 2024 is likely to see continued improvement in Indian market conditions, with GCCs and Indian firms anchoring growth. Physical occupancy levels have significantly improved in top 8 cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad) indicating normalcy in 2024. Additionally, demand is likely to increase in tier-2 cities as occupiers explore hub-spoke models for enhanced flexibility and talent acquisition. Hence, 2024 is likely to be a turning point in the Indian office market, featuring accelerated growth and renewed optimism. 

To fuel your strategy & business decisions with data driven commercial office real estate insights

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