HONG Kong investors had better get their skates on if they want to move in on an Australian property bonanza. That is the message from Michael Snarey, managing director of estate agents Stanton Hillier Parker, who says the market in Australian office properties is set to boom in nine months' time. The Stanton Hillier Parker report, the National Office Market Review, published today, claims that vacancy levels in office markets in all of Australia's state capitals - except Brisbane and the national capital Canberra - have risen in 1993. This and other factors were helping to create a favourable environment for immediate investment, Mr Snarey said. ''A purist would probably say we are five past midnight,'' said Mr Snarey who denied he was attempting to hype up the market. ''Everyone agrees it [the office property market] is going in the right direction.'' Mr Snarey said investors in Hong Kong and Singapore were not just subscribing to this point of view but promoting it. He said six months ago he was not certain the time was right for investment, but he was now. The recession was over in Australia, he said. And Australians had started to return to property investment and firms in the central business districts (CBD) were relocating from secondary quality premises to prime properties. Mr Snarey said this development was at the root of the demand for office space. According to the Stanton Hillier Parker report, investors from Singapore and Malaysia have helped increase CBD sales in recent months with banks among the biggest sellers. The decision to hold the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney also boosted the market, Mr Snarey said. There is a huge amount of empty office space still to be filled in Australian cities. In Sydney, vacancy levels are running at 24 per cent, Melbourne 26 per cent, Adelaide 19 per cent and Perth a staggering 30 per cent. In Brisbane, the levels have dropped marginally to 14 per cent. In Sydney, 51 per cent of all new and refurbished properties released in the last 12 months are still empty. In Perth, the figure is 42.2 per cent. The oversupply of office space has resulted in many investors purchasing offices for conversion into residential units. However, the report says that not all of these conversions will go ahead. The supply of new office space is starting to slacken, says Stanton Hillier Parker. ''Following the construction boom there are only a few projects to be completed. A total of 240,000 square metres will be released during 1993,'' the report says. ''Investors are swinging towards larger properties,'' says the report, which warns, ''office buildings should not be purchased solely on yield but with consideration to the quality of the property.'' The report adds: ''Institutional purchasers now consider investment in property trusts a more liquid holding than actual physical property and there will be more exposure to this form of investment over the next year.'' A recovery in the office property market would end a four-and-a-half year slump. With the exception of Brisbane, office rentals crashed in Australian state capitals during 1993. In Perth, rentals for prime CBD office space dropped 25 per cent. For secondary CBD offices, rentals fell 25 per cent in Perth.