Bristol offices lettings close to record

A recent report from property consultant CBRE revealed that office take-up for the first 9 months of the year is 447,113 sq ft, setting Bristol on course to match or exceed the five-year annual average by year-end, helped by the 107,000 sq ft prelet at 3 Glass Wharf to HMRC earlier in 2017. Office deals during the third quarter totalled 179,000 sq ft.

The largest office letting in Q3 was to Grant Thornton which took 16,800 sq ft at 2 Glass Wharf. A rent of £30.00 psf was achieved on the first pre-let (13,326 sq ft) to Mewburn Ellis at the Aurora scheme at Finzel’s Reach. There were also deals to Jordans and Soil Association.

Demand continues to be strongest in the 5-15,000 sq ft size range, although there has been only one deal over 20,000 sq ft in the city centre so far this year.

Deals under offer in the city include Dyson and University of Bristol  at the recently refurbished ‘One Cathedral Square’ office scheme.

Professionals services and financial services have been the dominant sector in the third quarter.

Out of town Q3 take up received a boost from the refurbished Chocolate Factory in Keynsham, which has let 47,000 sq ft of offices in two deals.

University of Bristol has submitted an outline planning application for a £300m city centre campus on a seven-acre site next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station

The outlook for Bristol remains strong with a number of significant requirements such as 250,000 sq ft for DWP, expected to be satisfied by year end.

Metropolis is tracking a number of companies looking for office space in Bristol, including several confirming searches in the last quarter. There are also a large number of Bristol office tenants approaching lease decisions in 2018.

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Metropolis Office Movers October 2017

Metropolis ran 548 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the month of October 2017. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 8 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 251 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (60), North West (40) and Scotland (36). IT services, professional and financial were the largest business sectors planning relocations or agreeing moves during the month.

The business leads covered the whole UK and provided details of the size of the office occupier, its likely move dates, a description of the reasons for the move, its business sector and full contact details including an address for written inquiries, at least one telephone number and in most cases an email address. Some of the largest planned moves and top picks amongst the 548 October leads, included those on Dentsu Aegis, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank, WeWork, Royal London Insurance and Dyson.

The October 2017 leads included 165 ‘identified requirements’. Which means that the company confirmed to researchers that it has current or future plans to search for alternative office space. Of these 165 searches, 100 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 150 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a relocation, but the occupier has yet to make a final decision on whether to search.

Most of the remaining stories covered companies that have signed for new office space and have set a move date, including some large pre-lets and companies inviting tenders for fit-out contracts. The shortest planned move date is just over a month away, whilst the longest was late 2020.

Recent research by Metropolis concluded that a conservative estimate of ‘live’ business opportunities on the database in recent months exceeded £1bn of business.

If you would like some information on flexible Metropolis subscription packages, then please email Simon at simon@metroinfo.co.uk

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Cityoffices.net, the sister property leads service to Metropolis, is about to publish its ‘Autumn 2017’ survey on the office construction market in central London, with details of new schemes starting, the dozens of schemes at preparation stage and 200 office schemes in the pipeline for construction starts in 2017-2020.

For more information on Cityoffices, email Andy at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Thames Valley Autumn 2017

Recent research suggests that office take-up in the Thames Valley office market fell slightly in Q3 2017 to around 300,000 sq ft. of deals between July and late September. However, further pending deals amounting to over 250,000 sq ft of office space are understood to be under offer. Total take-up to the end of Q3 in 2017 is 1.25m sq ft.

The most active sectors were professional services at 20% and TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) at 19%, followed by pharmaceutical and life sciences sector, with Slough and Uxbridge as the most active towns. US-owned occupiers have around a 40% market share.

In Q3 2017, there were only five deals above 20,000 sq ft, down from nine large lettings in Q2. The largest single letting this quarter was WeWork taking 53,000 sq ft at 12 Hammersmith Grove. McAfee agreed a 19,500 sq ft move from the Bath Road to Slough town centre at the Urban Building. Fiserv signed to take 27,000 sq ft at the Porter Building in Slough, moving from Stockley Park. Some occupiers prefer to take existing space, with recent examples including: McLaren taking of 20,000 sq ft from SAB Miller in Woking and Birds Eye’s move to 40,000 sq ft of space sub-let from BP at Bedfont Lakes.

Occupier requirements have recently been driven by lease expiries, but there is emerging evidence of expansion led demand in the last two quarters.  The majority of current demand is in the sub 20,000 sq ft size band. There has been an increase in occupiers below 10,000 sq ft looking for small and flexible space.

Metropolis has confirmed nearly 150 medium/large office requirements in the Thames Valley since the beginning of 2017. Among some of the larger ‘live’ searches from at least 600,000 sq ft of new requirements in the area, include searches by: Novartis, JDA International and FCA Group. Metropolis is also tracking 140 Thames Valley companies with upcoming lease expiries, which could move in the next two years.

New Lease Research from Metropolis

The London office market has maintained steady office letting take-up during 2017. The latest figures calculated by Metropolis to the end of Q3 2017 reveal office transactions totaling 8.8m sq ft for the first nine months of the year (deals 5,000 sq ft and above). Based on these figures and a number of large office moves under offer, 12m sq ft take up by the end of the year is not out of the question. If 12m sq ft is achieved this would surpass the 11m sq ft of 2016 and match the total for 2015.

The table below breaks down take-up in London in 2017 by the five largest sectors

Sector                             % of take-up
Financial                          20%
Business Services           19%
IT/Computer                   15%
Professional                     12%
Media                                11%

Financial services leads the way, boosted by the large pre-let in the City to Deutsche Bank. Business services comes a close second helped by over 900,000 sq ft of lettings to serviced office operator WeWork. IT has been driven by large expansions by Expedia, Amazon and Spotify. By area, the City has taken around 40% of take-up, with West End, Midtown and Southbank broadly taking 15% each. Docklands has had  a very quiet 2017.

Metropolis has recorded 96 deals for London office space of 20,000 sq ft or more in so far 2017 amounting to 5m sq ft. Business services, underpinned by WeWork deals, takes over 1.2m sq ft of that, followed by 880,000 sq ft of financial sector driven by Deutsche Bank, 600,000 sq ft of IT industry deals and nearly 500,000 sq ft from professional companies (law firms, accountants, consultants). a further 2m sq ft of deals are ‘under offer’ and close to signing in Q4 2017.

Recently some office market analysts have advanced the view that the London office market for moves under 20,000 sq ft is ‘patchy’. So Metropolis went back to all the potential office occupiers contacted in 2016, approaching 2017 lease expiries, to trace what happened next.

Taking a sample from the 700 London-based occupiers contacted during 2016, Metropolis found that, despite the fact that many were simultaneously negotiating with the landlord of the existing office, over 70% of occupiers decided to move, prior to the upcoming lease expiry. The sector with the strongest propensity to move was media and the least likely to move was business services. The larger a company, the slightly higher propensity to move. West End companies were slightly more likely to move than City-based ones.

The last nine months has seen a strong pace of office space pre-lets set by incoming tenants in advance of construction completion. In total, some 4.3m sq ft of London office space, that is currently under construction, has been pre-let. Some of the high profile recent pre-lets included Boston Consulting, Metro Bank taking 67,000 sq ft of offices at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Boston Consulting and Arup at 80 Charlotte Street, W1; HSBC taking 30,000 at Cork Street, W1 and Kings College at Roman Wall House, EC3.

The most common trigger for pre-let relocation is expansion. Nearly 50% of the space completed over the previous 6 months has now been let and includes big lettings to likes of Universal Music, Cancer Research, XTX Markets, British Council, Cleary Gottlieb, Schroders and Moneysupermarket.

Looking ahead, our research with thousands of London office tenants suggests a robust level of take-up in Q4 2017, although the increasing attractions of serviced office space and Brexit uncertainty could have an impact in the medium term.