London 2015 take-up tops 12m sq ft..Again

The results are in on central London office take-up in 2015.

Total transactions over 5,000 sq ft in the year amounted to 12.2m sq ft researched by Metropolis, a similar figure to 2014. The lettings breakdown included nearly 6m sq ft in the City; 1.2m sq ft in Docklands; Midtown 2.2m sq ft; West End 2.7m sq ft; Southbank 0.3m sq ft.

By office grade, a substantial 5.9m sq ft of the 12.2m sq ft was grade A, ie newly built or recently refurbished space. Some of the larger examples of grade A lettings included a flurry of deals at the Straford Quarter, Aldgate Tower, Leadenhall Tower, Alphabeta Building, Park House in Oxford Street and 58 Victoria Embankment. The highest rent recorded was nearly £100psf in a recently completed Mayfair scheme. Although the year saw more than 20 substantial pre-lets, the majority of grade A lettings came after the building completion. Developers seem to be benefitting from the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy.

The most active sectors in 2015 are set out below. All figues in million sq ft.

Financial 3.2
TMT 2.5
Business Services 1.8
Professional 1.6
Insurance 0.4

Although financial services heads the list with 3.2m sq ft of deals, boosted by large pre-lettings to Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Canada, it was closely followed by TMT (technology, media and telecom). Large deals included Google, Facebook, Universal Music and Hewlett Packard. Also showing strongly are business services (WeWork took over 500,000 sq ft) in the year and professional services was boosted by big pre-lets to ashurst Morris Crisp and Deloitte.

Looking ahead to 2016, a similar year is in prospect. Some 7m sq ft of un-let speculative office space is under construction in central London, with a further 8m sq ft at demolition stage, according to Cityoffices.net. There are office requirements totaling around 10m sq ft for the City, Midtown, West End, Docklands and Southbank, plus a further large tranche of companies making decisions on future lease expiries. Based on current trends upto 6m sq ft of demand could go to under construction or newly refurbished space with a similar volume of secondhand space lettings. So another 12m sq ft of deals in 2016 is likely.

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