Why international firms continued to locate offices in Singapore

This supported the increase in occupancy and rent of prime-grade offices.

Smaller international and regional banks have been sourcing for modest expansion space in Singapore amidst other global banks such as UBS and Standard Chartered, which reduced their headcounts, said Knight Frank.

Despite macroeconomic issues, international firms were not deterred from locating in Singapore, for a presence in Southeast Asia. 

“Key examples included San Francisco-based global human resource firm Deel and Japanese firm Exeo Global citing the city's strategic location to Asia Pacific markets as well as the substantial talent pool as favourable factors for establishing their new offices in Singapore,” read the report.

The demand for high-quality spaces remained with occupiers not transferring from their current offices to affordable buildings. With this, whilst tight occupancies characterise quality offices, older buildings may struggle to mitigate vacancy levels. 
As this happens, Knight Frank seeks to attract the best tenants seeking “flight-to-quality” moves through asset enhancement or redevelopment into a sustainable asset that “can position to capture the market upside when the business cycle turns.” 

“This trend started during the pandemic when several buildings such as the former Keppel Towers at Hoe Chiang Road, the former Shaw Tower in Beach Road and the former AXA Tower in Shenton way decanted to undergo redevelopment into modern green-certified buildings,” said Knight Frank.

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