Singapore has most expensive office fit-out costs in Southeast Asia

Fit-out costs across Asia Pacific have seen an increase in recent times, driven by factors such as inflation, labour market constraints and supply chain delays. Grant Carter, Head of Project & Development Services Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield, notes that cost is clearly high on the agenda for occupiers, as evidenced by the 0.8% q-o-q increase in CBD Grade A office rents in the first quarter of 2023.

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Major occupiers are absorbing the fit-out costs to improve return-to-office rates. In local currency terms, figures show that the costs have risen by an average of 18%, although this reduces to 7% when expressed in US dollar terms.

Carter believes that occupiers are still trying to fully comprehend the effects of new flexible working practices. The key is to strike a balance between providing space for individual work, and encouraging collaboration and innovation. Essential considerations for successful fit-outs include workplace strategies and technology, in addition to sustainability and ESG factors.

Singapore was found to have the most expensive fit-out costs amongst Southeast Asia, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2023 Asia Pacific Office Fit-Out Cost Guide. Although fit-out costs have risen across the region, early indications suggest that some easing in pressure is already taking place.

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