Edinburgh prospering

A recent report on the Edinburgh office market by property adviser Knight Frank, concluded that around 120,000 sq ft of offices were let in Q3 2016. The July-September 2016 total was slightly down on the first two quarters of the year, but broadly in line with the same period in 2015 (148,000 sq ft).

Technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector companies were the mainstay in the market, accounting for 49,000 sq ft of the Edinburgh-wide take-up – 41% of the total.

Agreed deals included moves by People’s Postcode Lottery, State Street Bank, Intergen, Cirrus Logic and Zonal Retail Data.

The agents said that appetite for Grade A space (newly completed or refurbished) also “remained voracious in the city centre, with 176,000 sq ft  let in the year to date”. Knight Frank say that Edinburgh could outperform the 220,000 sq ft 10-year average for annual city centre, Grade A office take-up, by the end of 2016.

Metropolis is currently tracking some 35 searches for Edinburgh office space 2016-18.  Current large requirements include Ernst and Young (under offer at Atria), Brodies (60,000 sq ft) and Aberdeen Asset Management (80,000 sq ft).

Agents say: “There is a good level of requirements in the market, particularly for sub-5,000 sq ft accommodation. The level of demand should give developers the confidence to start building. Many will be holding out for pre-let opportunities and, although there have been few in the last decade, we’d expect to see more announced towards the end of 2016.”

Speculative schemes include work nearly completed at Quartermile 3, some delay at the Haymarket scheme, construction planned at One Lochrin Square and a start on Chris Stewart Group’s ‘the Mint’ building, where space is under offer. KF also said that landlords are looking to refurbish their existing stock.



Central London Office Lettings – September 2016

Central London office lettings in September 2016 recorded nearly 720,000 ft of deals from 50 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The September figure represents a rise of 23% from the 580,000 sq ft total in August and a rise in the number of deals over the month. However the Q3 London take-up figure of just over 2.1m sq ft was disappointing.

September was characterised by 8 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, including WeWork at Aldwych House WC2; Havas at Alfred Place, WC1; Government Digital Service at the Whitechapel Building, E1 and DNV GL Group at Southbank Tower, SE1.

Professional services topped the table of lettings by sector, helped by the Havas deal, followed by media sector, boosted by deals to Time Inc and Audio Networks.  Business services also performed well. Office deals under offer in central London remain around 2.9m sq ft and include two large pending deals in Midtown. Enquiry levels are up slightly.

By area, the City accounted for only 26pc of the office floorspace let in September. The West End saw 240,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown had a good month with 170,000 sq ft of transactions. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 4.3m sq ft in the City and 3.2m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 293,000 sq ft (41% of the total), as transactions for new space kept momentum.

New research currently being prepared by Metropolis and Cityoffices for a major report on London office construction, reveals there over 3m sq ft of speculative office space went under construction in Q2 and Q3 2016.

M4 Corridor take-up rising

Recent research by Savills reveals an active M4 corridor office market and in particular the Maidenhead area.

Maidenhead office take-up is 22% ahead of the same period in 2015 underlining strong office demand. For the year to date there has been over 68,000 sq ft of office deals transacted in Maidenhead with a further 19,000 sq ft under offer.

Above average demand has led to new record office rents being achieved in Maidenhead town centre. Blackberry and McAllister Olivarius recently both paid a rent of £37.50 per sq ft at the Pearce Building, taking 16,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft respectively.

Agents say that most occupiers are looking at grade A (new or recently refurbished space). Over the last five years the grade A take-up proportion has been 80%.

Major movers this year include Alnylam taking 21,000 sq ft at Braywick Gate and Informatica leasing 18,000 sq ft at Building 4, Foundation Park. Rank are also in talks to take 40,000 sq ft at Blackrock’s Tor in the town centre.

Metropolis is monitoring around 50 requirements and potential requirements in the M4 corridor from Slough to Reading including Maidenhead.

There is currently 77,000 sq ft under construction in two buildings in Maidenhead. Clearbell Capital is refurbishing 55,000 sq ft of offices at Voyager Place and Mavern Capital is refurbishing 22,000 sq ft at Aurora, Vanwall Business Park.

South East Offices Focus

BNP Paribas report that the South East office market has continued to enjoy a solid, if unspectacular year to date. Around 2.2m sq ft of office deals have transacted across the South East office market, outside central London, down 6.5% year-on-year to end August 2016. Take-up in the first half of 2016 totalled 1.32 million sq ft. This was around 450,000 sq ft lower than the second half of 2015, although only 8.7% below the five half yearly average.

The largest deals include HMRC’s decision to take 183,000 sq ft at Ruskin Square scheme in Croydon, Ocado signing for 137,000 sq ft at Hatfield Business Park, Neilsons took 45,000 sq ft at Oxford Business Park, Superdrug (53,100 sq ft) at Pinnacle House, Croydon and Black & Veatch (21,950 sq ft) at Red Central, Redhill. The majority of requirements are still being triggered by lease events, although Thales’s consolidation at Green Park, Reading and Blackberry’s relocation to Maidenhead, are due to corporate restructuring.

Along the M4, total take-up fell by 30% in Q2 to 349,100 sq ft. The largest transaction along the M4 during Q2 was the 85,000 sq ft taken by technology firm Amadeus at Heathrow Business Park. Alnylam took 21,000 sq ft at Braywick Gate, Maidenhead, while 20,400 sq ft was let to pharmaceutical firm Mallinckrodt at Lotus Park in Staines.

The majority of demand is in the sub 20,000 sq ft size band. There are, however, a number of larger (50,000 sq ft+) active requirements in the market, such as: Future Electronics, L’Oreal, Medidata and FM Global. Some of which are expected to sign in the second half of 2016.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 120 companies looking for office space in the South East region

Current demand is largely being driven by lease breaks and expiries as opposed to occupier expansion. Looking ahead, The South East will continue to benefit from its broad occupier base. It is not overly reliant on
the finance and banking sector.