The Next Big Thing ?

Recent reports from CBRE and Lambert Smith Hampton have highlighted bounceback last year in the volume of office deals in the Thames Valley (broadly West London along the M4 motorway to Swindon, plus parts of the M3 to Basingstoke and west Surrey). The office deals increase saw volume of office floorspace let grow by nearly 60% in 2013 to nearly 2.6m sq ft, compared to 1.6m sq ft in 2012. Agents also report around 3m sq ft of active unfulfilled office demand in the region.

Over the past 12 months, Metropolis has reported on more than 150 medium and large office deals in the Thames Valley, totaling around 2m sq ft. Some of the bigger deals just announced include lettings to BMW, Rackspace, Dunnhumby, Nexen, Tesco and PWC. The database currently details over 100 current office requirements, with a wide variety of companies searching for over 2m sq ft in the Thames Valley; including space under  offer to companies such as GE Capital, Weightwatchers and Avnet.

In terms of area, the most popular towns are:

West London

Followed by Guildford, Woking, Maidenhead, Uxbridge and Staines. All locations provide ready access to Heathrow. In general, technology companies are drawn to Reading and Bracknell, engineering firms show a preference for west London, with conglomerates preferring Surrey.



Analysis of the reasons for relocation, suggests that the importance of the lease expiry is falling from around 70% of office moves two years ago, to less than half now. During the same period there has been a rise in the importance of corporate expansion and the establishment of new operations by overseas companies, to give a broader base to relocation triggers

Looking ahead, there is another bulge of office lease expiries approaching between 2015 and 2017, which will cause decisions to be made over the next two years. In addition, the resurgence of the technology sector worldwide has seen a wave of, particularly US and far eastern corporations, establishing European operations with R&D, engineering  healthcare, software and robotics at the forefront.

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