Cardiff Demand

In a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield, local agents reveal that Cardiff office occupiers are pushing on with move plans and that no deals have fallen through since the Brexit vote. There is also a strong demand for new space with a number of large requirements active in the city centre.

Office take-up volumes in Cardiff reached 192,000 sq ft in the six months to July 2016 , a 31% increase on H1 2015. HMRC signed a five year lease for 55,000 sq ft across four floors at Brunel House; Cardiff School of Journalism took 2,730 sqm (30,000 sq ft) at No 2 Central Square, Cardiff University took 29,000 sq ft at Friary House and Opus Energy took 1,161 sq m (12,500 sq ft) of offices at 2 Capital Quarter as well as deals to RBS and Studio TRI. In August, MotoNovo Finance took a larger than expected 6,600 sq m (71,000 sq ft) on five floors at the recently completed One Central Square.

Metropolis is tracking around twenty medium or large size office requirements in Cardiff, including Geldards, PWC and Network Rail. In addition there are a further twenty medium/large companies about to make lease decisions in Cardiff.

Legal & General has announced it was closing its offices in Surrey and relocating its workforce between Cardiff and Hove

Grade A office space availability remains low in the city centre which is putting upward pressure on prime rents at £25 per sq ft. JR Smart has started construction of 75,000 sq ft of new offices at 3 Capital
Quarter following the success at 2 Capital Quarter. While buildings such as  2 Kingsway and Golate House are tipped for refurbishment.

From next year, the city will benefit significantly from the electrification of the Great Western Main Line, improving east-west links with London and Bristol.

Leeds market focus

The latest Colliers International report on the Leeds office market revealed a quiet summer 2016 with only 73,100 sq ft of transactions across 25 deals. Some of the larger deals included Plexus Law taking 14,500 sq ft at Joseph’s Well, Slater & Gordon taking 10,000 sq ft at 2 City West, NHS Property taking 10,000 sq ft in Horsforth and Addleshaw Goddard nearly 8,000 sq ft at 3 Sovereign Square.

Total first half take-up in 2016 reached nearly 200,000 sq ft helped by Sky Bet taking 39,600 sq ft at 6 Wellington Place, RSM pre-let 25,000 sq ft at Central Square and Dentsu Aegis secured 13,800 sq ft at the newly refurbished 6 East Parade.

Local agents predict that the Leeds office market will remain slow due to occupier uncertainty and limited upcoming lease events, although there remain a number of active enquiries within the marketplace.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 companies looking for office space in the Leeds area, including HMRC Hub, Willis Towers Watson and Dart Group/Jet2 and some substantial requirements in the professional services sector. In addition, there are around 40 companies approaching lease expiries in 2017 where decisions are yet to be made, including a number of software groups. Further ahead, over half a million sq ft of lease events are scheduled in the next few years

New schemes launched in Leeds earlier this year include 6 Wellington Place, 6 East Parade and 120 Wellington Street. A further 500,000 sq ft has just been completed including 69,000 sq ft at 6 Queen Street, 75,000 sq ft at 5 Wellington Place and 200,000 sq ft at Central Square. Speculative schemes at Kirkstall Forge and Thorpe Park are set to boost grade A availability in the future.

 

Central London Lettings August 2016

Central London office lettings in August 2016 recorded just over 580,000 ft of deals from 41 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The August figure represents a fallback from the 850,000 sq ft total in July, but sees a rise in the number of deals over the month.

August was characterised by 10 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, including Moneysupermarket at 1 Dean Street W1; Dimensional Fund Advisors at 20 Triton Street, NW1; New Day at Kings Cross, N1 and Hampshire Trust Bank at 55 Bishopsgate, EC2.

IT services topped the table of lettings by sector, followed by financial services, boosted by the Dimensional Fund Advisors letting. Insurance and business services are also performing well. Office deals under offer in central London remain around 2.8m sq ft and include two large pending deals in Midtown.

By area, the City accounted for 33pc of the office floorspace let in August. The West End saw 250,000 sq ft of take-up. Southbank had a good month with 80,000 sq ft of transactions. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 4.2m sq ft in the City and 3.1m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 239,000 sq ft (41% of the total), as transactions for new space kept momentum.

New research from Metropolis reveals there are some 400 medium/large companies in central London which have yet to make decisions on leases due to expire in 2017.

Active Belfast

A recent report on the Belfast office market by CBRE revealed record high levels of take-up at 232,000 sq ft from 31 midsize-large deals in the 6 months to July 2016. This was an increase of 165% based on the first half of 2015.

CBRE expect take-up in the remainder of 2016 to remain strong as a good number of deals are ‘under offer’, coupled with the large volume of requirements. CBRE estimate 750,000 sq ft of requirements for the Belfast market, mainly from existing occupiers looking to expand.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 20 requirements from medium or large companies looking for office space in Belfast.

Professional services firms and the public sector make up the majority of the existing requirements. Recent announced moves include lettings to Navinet, Liberty IT, PuppetLabs, Tourism NI, Regus, Genesys, BRS Golf, Genpact, Citi, Arup, EY and Shopkeep.com. Announced expansions include SpotXi, Manage, HighWire Press Inc, Sixty-5, Pearson Management Services and Alert Logic. PwC adding a further 21,200 sq ft to their existing base in Waterfront Plaza. Tullett Prebon intend to develop a new technology centre and create up to 300 new jobs in Belfast.

There is some 800,000 sq ft of available office space in Belfast in July 2016, down 66,500 sq ft over six months. The amount of existing Grade A space is 141,300 sq ft. Schemes due for imminent completion include Linen Lofts in Adelaide Street and Lincoln Building on Great Victoria Street. Both schemes are attracting letting interest. Construction work continues on the 96,000 sq ft City Quays 2 at Belfast Harbour for Q1 2017 completion. Around 215,000 sq ft of Grade A offices are to be developed at Bedford Square by McAleer & Rushe. An application to redevelop 35-47 Donegall Place in Belfast to provide additional Grade A office accommodation has also recently been made. Consent has been gained to build two office blocks at a £55m development on East Bridge Street.

Looking ahead, local agents say the effects of the Brexit decision are still unclear, however, the early signs are that long-term requirements are still moving ahead .

Bristol market on the Rise

A recent report on the Bristol office office market from property consultant Colliers International revealed that office take-up in Bristol in the first half of 2016 reached 380,000 sq ft, which is a substantial 43% up on the first six months of 2015. Bristol is on track to reach take up of 800,000 sq ft by the end of 2016, well above the five year average of 533,000 sq ft.

The strong figures include two recent deals: EDF Energy taking 81,000 sq ft at Bridgewater House, Direct Line purchasing 63,000 sq ft at The Core and 28,000 sq ft in let at Narrow Quay House to Frazer Nash Consultancy. Grade A (new and recently refurbished space) take-up was 123,570 sq ft.  Vacancy levels remain at an all-time low – 7.3% (Bristol) and 7.0% (Grade A) respectively.

Colliers say that Business Services represented 28% of total take-up for the first six months of 2016, while Energy and Utilities were the second most active business sector at 21%, although that 21% comprises
the EDF Energy deal only. The demand for space remains strong, with a good level of significant sized requirements actively seeking high specification centre city offices. HMRC has the single largest requirement of more than 170,000 sq ft.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 40 companies with searches underway in the Bristol area. In addition, around 50 medium/large companies are approaching lease expiries in 2017/18.

Tech and digital companies are also key drivers behind office demand in Bristol, with the BBC, IMBD (owned by Amazon), Hewlett Packard, Just Eat and Huawei all recently choosing to locate in the city

66 Queen Square was the last Grade A office scheme to be completed and only 3,500 sq ft is available. The 95,000 sq ft Aurora scheme, is the only office building under construction and will be delivered in Q4 2017. The 250,000 sq ft ‘Assembly’ office scheme is currently looking for revised planning consent, while the 184,000 sq ft ‘Aspire’ scheme is tipped for a late 2016 start.