Dubai Office Space Demand Soars 23% in H1 as Prime Locations Gain Popularity

Dubai Office Space Demand Soars 23% in H1 as Prime Locations Gain Popularity

The Dubai real estate landscape is experiencing a remarkable shift as demand for office spaces in the emirate skyrockets. The first half of 2023 saw an unprecedented surge in demand, with a remarkable 23% increase in office space requirements. This surge has been fueled by a growing preference for Grade A locations, indicating a shift towards more efficient and sustainable office spaces. In this article, we delve into the factors driving this surge, the rise of Grade A developments, and the challenges faced by both tenants and developers in the rapidly evolving Dubai office space market.

Dubai’s Office Space Demand Surge

According to a market update by Knight Frank, one of the leading global property consultancies, the demand for office space in Dubai has witnessed an exceptional growth rate of 23% in the first half of 2023. This robust demand underscores the thriving need for commercial office spaces in the emirate. The report highlights that almost 54,000 square meters of office space were in demand during this period, signifying a significant increase in business activities and expansion in Dubai’s non-oil private sector economy.

Rise of Grade A Developments

A significant driving force behind this surge is the increasing preference for Grade A developments. These are office spaces that are efficiently managed, well-maintained, and accredited to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Businesses, both local and international, are recognizing the importance of high-quality office spaces in attracting and retaining top talent, a critical advantage in today’s competitive workforce market. Not only do these spaces offer functional efficiency, but they also align with global sustainability and ESG goals.

Supply and Demand Challenge

While the demand for office space is soaring, the supply remains limited, presenting a challenge for developers. The report indicates that the Dubai office market is facing a severe shortage of supply, with only 3 million square feet (278,700 square meters) of space expected to be completed by 2026. This scarcity is against the backdrop of 580,000 square feet (54,000 square meters) of requirements. This supply-demand imbalance is putting upward pressure on rental rates, making it a landlord’s market. As a result, occupiers are finding themselves with limited options and rising costs.

Prime Locations and Rent Trends

Certain prime locations in Dubai have stood out as leaders in this surge. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), particularly driven by Brookfield Place, has maintained its position as the city’s best-performing location. The 92,900-square-foot Brookfield Place boasts Leed Platinum and WiredScore Platinum ratings, reflecting its commitment to sustainability and digital infrastructure resilience. Additionally, areas such as Business Bay, the Trade Centre District, and Dubai Marina have seen substantial increases in office rents, ranging from 54% to 69% in the past 12 months.

ESG and Sustainable Practices

Dubai’s gravitation towards ESG-accredited buildings is a significant indication of the emirate’s alignment with global sustainability trends. The emphasis on sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmentally responsible practices in property construction and management is appealing to businesses with a green mandate. ESG practices are not only benefiting the environment but are also proving to be financially rewarding for developers as they cater to the growing demand for eco-friendly office spaces.

Challenges for Older Office Stock

While the demand for Grade A developments is soaring, older office stock is facing challenges. Despite the overall surge in demand, lease rates for older buildings are still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels. This highlights the growing disparity between modern, sustainable office spaces and older, less advanced alternatives. This phenomenon underlines the significance of staying updated and investing in sustainable practices to ensure competitiveness in the evolving market.


The surge in demand for office space in Dubai, coupled with the rise of Grade A developments and a strong preference for ESG-accredited buildings, showcases the emirate’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and attracting top-tier businesses. While this trend is driving rental rates upwards, it also presents challenges for developers to meet the rising demand. As Dubai positions itself at the forefront of global sustainability efforts, its office space market continues to evolve, setting new standards for modern workspace environments.

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