The COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 has had a strong impact on the office market in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and the lockdown order has made remote working a norm on a large scale. As observed by Cushman & Wakefield, many companies have redesigned their offices for better performance and are willing to spend money on utilities that can ensure employees' health and safety.
Trang Bui, General Manager at Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam, commented: “As the pandemic progresses, employees’ lifestyle and desire to work flexibly are also becoming more and more apparent. The trend is not confined in the multinational corporations anymore but is also observed in small to medium and government enterprises. Businesses invest not only in technology to support work but also in no-touch technologies, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and smarter hygiene practices to protect their employees and clients.”
For an ideal office space, businesses will have to plan on finance, design, and location. According to a report by Cushman & Wakefield, the average cost of equipping a new office in Vietnam in 2022 is about USD61/sqft, while the cost of renovating an old office is USD30/sqft. Equipment costs may include furniture, design consulting fees, construction, M&E, information technology, audio-visual equipment, and other costs. This price is still lower than that in major cities of the region such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Manila.
Average office fit-out costs in major Southeast Asian cities
The Asia Pacific region is entering a pivotal moment as landlords and investors begin to place greater emphasis on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in all aspects of real estate. As many international corporations are aiming to reduce carbon emissions, retain talent as well as attract "green" capital, businesses need a long-term plan and vision to make their workplace more sustainable.
According to Cushman & Wakefield's Q4 2021 report, the current average asking price in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi for Grade A and B office space is USD39.4/m2 and USD23.5/m2, respectively. The uptrend is expected to continue as the market regains its momentum once the pandemic is effectively contained and business activities fully recover.