Central London Lettings – September 2017

Central London office lettings in September 2017 reached a healthy 965,000 sq ft of deals from 61 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The September figure conforms to the current monthly average of just under 1m sq ft .

September was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Boston Consulting’s 123,000 sq ft pre-let at 80 Charlotte Street, W1, Metro Bank’s pre-let at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Costain took 30,000 sq ft at Victoria House, WC1, and Mitie took 30,000 sq ft at The Shard, SE1.

Professional services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Boston Consulting deal. This was followed by financial services with the large deals involving Metro Bank. Property and Business services also performed well, helped by the lettings to Costain and Mitie. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased slightly at 3.6m sq ft and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 33pc of the office floorspace let in September at 314,000 sq ft. The West End saw 263,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 242,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.1m sq ft in the City and 2.8m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 448,000 sq ft (46% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Some 8.9m sq ft of offices were let in the first 3 quarters of 2017 to end of September 2017.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 620 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 2m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are working on an analysis of lease expiries which were due to expire in 2017 and the latest London Skyline report. The update will contain details of dozens of new office schemes under construction, planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

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Top Ten London Business Sectors

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For the sixth year running, Banking and finance leads dominate the London business sector top ten. The largest search for space emerging from this sector in 2014 was a 300,000 sq ft requirement for HQ offices in London EC3, closely followed by a 200,000 sq ft office requirement in London EC2 and a similar sized requirement from a bank looking in EC4. Total new office demand in London from this sector was 4m sq ft.

Office demand from hedge funds amounted to just under 250,000 sq ft, with the average requirement a search for about 10,000 sq ft and the most popular postcodes London W1, SW1 and WC2. Demand from financial investment firms was 800,000 sq ft, with the most popular postcodes London EC2, EC3 and EC4.

Newly identified office demand from the media sector in London was about 2.5m sq ft. The largest search was a 300,000 sq ft requirement for HQ space in London W6. Other significant searches focused on London EC1 and SE1. The technology and telecoms sector, often grouped with Media under the banner “TMT”, had a similar preference for space in these postcodes, with space in WC1 and N1 also of considerable interest. Technology and telecoms demand for London offices was just over 1.5m sq ft.

 

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London office demand from the law sector remains strong, with 2m sq ft of new requirements identified last year. London EC2 and EC4 remain the most popular postcodes for this sector, although a significant number of 30,000 sq ft searches centered on London WC1 and WC2. There were over 40 confirmed law firm lettings last year, with 50% of firms yet to move.

New insurance sector office demand centered on London EC3, with 700,000 sq ft of space required in this postcode last year, matching 2013 demand. Another 300,000 sq ft was required by this sector, mainly in EC2.

In central London, Metropolis identified just over 14m sq ft of new requirements for offices. The top 5 most sought after postcodes areas by demand were: EC2 (3m sq ft), EC3 (2m sq ft), EC4 (1.6m sq ft), E14 (1.5m sq ft) and W1 (1.4m sq ft).

 

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There is currently a healthy level of competition for good quality completed and pipeline space in central London. We expect 2015 to be another good year for London fit-out, as companies continue to occupy space pre-let in previous years.

According to our research office take up in 2014 reached 12.7m sq ft, up 5% on the 2013 total. Take up in 2015 is also likely to be strong, but may not grow again by quite the same margin. Metropolis is currently tracking just over 12m sq ft of live office requirements in London and is picking up moves, on average, over 18 months before a deal is signed.

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd, January 2015

 

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