Commercial office property was on a roll before COVID-19 hit, with record growth in rental income and the lowest cap rates in 30 years. But Dion Hershan, Yarra Capital Management’s Head of Australian Equities, believes this can’t be sustained.
When The Australian Financial Review moved into brand new offices at 1 Denison Street, North Sydney, this week, it provided Chanticleer with a bird’s eye view into the nearly empty surrounding office towers.
Across the road is 100 Mount St, a 35-level tower owned by Dexus and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund. About half the building has been leased to monopoly government-owned broadband provider NBN Co.
It is eerie looking into the NBN floors full of desks and workstations and nobody in sight. About 99 per cent of the NBN workers are working from home and they won’t be back until September, at the earliest.
Hershan is about to do the rounds of institutional clients giving his view of the markets, including the reasoning why Yarra’s funds are heavily underweight real estate investment trusts.
“Our thesis on this is that pre-COVID – before any of the work from home impacts had been contemplated – the winds had already changed,” he says.
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