Demand for office space across large Australian markets has lifted by 22% off the back of increased activity among small businesses, according to new data from Colliers International.

According to Colliers International's latest Office Demand Index, a total of 621,156sqm of demand was recorded in Q2 2016 – a 22% increase from Q1 2016.

Enquiries from small businesses looking for sub-1,000sqm of office space rose a massive 85% in Q2 2016, compared to Q1 2016. This sector also recorded a 51% year-on-year increase in enquiry.

“In the current market, small businesses are driving a significant amount of enquiry for office space nationally, compared to this time last year,” Simon Hunt, Colliers International managing director of office leasing, said. 

“Small businesses are also catering for more than 80% of the number of deals that have been transacted year-to-date.”

Small businesses are currently most active in the Sydney market, Colliers data shows, where enquiries almost tripled in the second quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter.

“The amount of space enquired for in the Melbourne market also more than doubled in Q2 2016, compared to Q1 2016,” Hunt said.

Small businesses are also increasing their enquiries in Brisbane and Adelaide, recording quarterly rises of 25% and 15% respectively.

However, Colliers International's Office Demand Index found activity in larger markets was also being driven by mid-sized businesses (1,000-2,999sqm), which enquired for 18% more space in Q2 2016 than in Q1 2016.

“This quarter, we have seen more small businesses enquire for office space than ever previously recorded, however this doesn't mean large business activity has stopped,” Hunt said.

“The second quarter of 2016 has seen large businesses increase their enquiry for 3,000sqm-plus space by 23%, compared to the same period last year.”

Hunt said he expects to see larger businesses increasing their transactional activity into the second half of this year.