By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

OUTSOURCING and traditional transactions in the Cebu office property market has been increasing in the first half in a segment where vacancy has remained stagnant, Colliers Philippines said.

Transactions in the first half of 2021 went up 142% to 19,000 square meters compared to the same six-month period last year. Broken down, 7,300 square meters (sq.m.) came from the traditional sector, while 6,200 came from the voice outsourcing sector.

Another 5,300 sq.m. came from the knowledge process outsourcing industry.

“Traditional and outsourcing firms became the stable demand drivers. So, this actually is a good indicator that there is already a bit of confidence in the market, and there’s already movement in the market because these companies have already taken up space,” Colliers Cebu General Manager Gerard Thomas S. Padriga said in a briefing on Wednesday.

“This positive outlook also translated to positive net take up for two consecutive quarters.”

Mr. Padriga said that the vacancy rate is at 21.7% in the first half of 2021, and Colliers is forecasting an increase to over 24%.

“This may be a cause of concern for some, but you have to understand that there is a net take up here of about 11,000 square meters for the first half,” he said.

“Definitely, the market has been starting to recover. There is already movement in terms of expansions and new setups.”

A Cebu outsourcing organization said last month that it expects to continue remote work arrangements for between two and five more years as it sought faster rollout of telecommunications services outside the capital.

Cebu IT-BPM (Information Technology-Business Process Management) Organization President Exuperto P. Cabataña said that 60-75% of outsourcing staff could be assigned to work remotely for the foreseeable future.