Central London Office Market June 2019

Central London office lettings in June 2019 reached 1.05 million sq ft, from 64 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The June 2019 deals volume figure is in line with the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

June was characterised by 15 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by Parliamentary Estate’s 97,000 sq ft deal at 64 Victoria Street, SW1; Smith & Williamson taking 87,000 sq ft at  40 Gresham Street, EC2; Squire Patton Boggs taking 61,000 sq ft at Devonshire Place, EC2 and WeWork taking 47,000 sq ft at Hounsditch, EC3.

Professional Services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the Smith & Williamson and Squire, Patton Boggs pre-lets. This was followed by financial services led by Liberty and Business Research. The Business Services sector was also prominent with deals to WeWork, Spaces and Knotel

Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London rose to 4m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals in solicitor’s hands.

By area, the City accounted for 40% of the office floorspace let in May 2019 at 406,000 sq ft. The West End saw 356,000 sq ft of take-up. Docklands 66,000 sq ft, Midtown contributed 134,000 sq ft of lettings and Southbank 93,000 sq ft. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.8m 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 349,000 sq ft sq ft (33% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space maintained the recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Across Q2 2019, there were deals covering 3.3m sq ft of office space, slightly down on 2018, led by the EBRD pre-let at 5 Bank Street in Docklands, followed by Brewin Dolphin in the City and G-Research in the West End. Some 40% of space let in Q2 was in pre-lets. Financial and business services were the two most active sectors.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 620 ‘live’ London office requirements, including a large volume of requirements from the banking and finance sectors, with pending deals for space of up to 1.5m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

City of London Update

A recent research update on the City of London office market by property consultant Savills, revealed that office take-up on the 12-month rolling total had reached 6.9m sq ft, the lowest it has been
since July 2017.

Savills say that demand for space in the fringes of the City has been reduced this year, with most large deals concluded in the core area. The largest deal to be signed in the last two months saw the financial group Brewin Dolphin acquire the whole of 25 Cannon Street, EC4 (114, 000 sq ft) with the relocation happening in July 2022. In addition, competitor Smith & Williamson signed for 86,975 sq ft at Gresham St Pauls, 40 Gresham Street, EC2 relocating from their current offices when the scheme completes in Q3 2020. Demand continues to be concentrate on the new schemes with a two tier market evident. For example 100 Liverpool Street has seen deals of 63,000 sq ft to Millbank and 40,000 sq ft to Peel Hunt, achieving higher than average rents for the area. During Q1, construction started on 6-8 Bishopsgate (710,000 sq ft), Ropemaker Place (480,000 sq ft) and 1 Portsoken Street (190,000 sq ft).

The Insurance and Financial services sectors are the mainstay of demand in the City, currently with 27% of the share of take-up, followed by the Serviced Office Provider sector with 18% share, and the Professional services sector in third with 11%.  Tech & Media sector is lagging in 2019. Tech & Media occupiers are thought to be choosing to move into serviced offices, which continue to expand. The Serviced Office
sector has taken 363,000 sq ft of offices in the City, so far this year, up on this point last year by 78% and up on the 10-year average. An example is WeWork acquiring 50,000 sq ft at 2 Minster Court, EC3. The average deal size for the quarter was just 13,621 sq ft, its lowest since 2012. This was due to a lack of larger transactions.

During the first 6 months of 2019 Metropolis ran leads on 180 occupiers looking for alternative office space in the City of London.

Central London Office Market May 2019

Central London office lettings in May 2019 reached 1.3 million sq ft, from 40 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The May 2019 deals volume figure is well above the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

May was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by EBRD’s 365,000 pre-let at 1-5 Bank Street, E14; along with the letting of the refurbished 25 Cannon Street to Brewin Dolphin; WeWork at Film House, Soho, W1; Parliamentary Estates taking space at 64 Victoria Street, SW1, plus Quilter at Senator House in EC4 .

Financial Services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the EBRD pre-let and Brewin Dolphin’s new City of London HQ. This was followed by business services led by WeWork and Signature (Regus) deals. Public services, led by Parliamentary Estates and professional services with Cadwalader and Comply were also well represented.

Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London stood at 3m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals in solicitor’s hands.

By area, the City accounted for 34% of the office floorspace let in May 2019 at 437,000 sq ft. The West End saw 350,000 sq ft of take-up. Docklands 365,000 sq ft, Midtown contributed 109,000 sq ft of lettings and Southbank 21,000 sq ft. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.7m sq ft in the City and 3m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month, reached a healthy 960,000 sq ft sq ft (74% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space maintained the recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 625 ‘live’ London office requirements, including a large volume of requirements from the banking and finance sectors, with pending deals for space of up to 1.5m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

City of London Boost

An October 2016 City of London office market survey by property adviser Ingleby Trice recorded 39,183 sq m (421,760 sq ft) of take-up in the core area: “a healthy rise of 35% over September and a material 76% rise over the 6 monthly average of 22,233 sq m (239,311 sq ft)”

The surveyor says say that October’s City take up was the highest since April and the highest since the June referendum. October’s take up was also this year’s second highest at just over twice the total in October 2015 and includes:

  • 8 Finsbury Circus, EC2 – 17,460 sq ft on 7th floor – placed under offer to an incoming tenant (see Metropolis database for further details).
  • River Building, Cannon Bridge, EC4 – 51,500 sq ft at Riverside 1 – placed under offer to Deliveroo who is moving from the West End. The refurbishment is due to complete in Q1 2017.
  • Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, EC4 – 83,937 sq ft on pt 7th & 6th floors to an as yet undisclosed occupier.
  • 99 Gresham Street, EC2 – 17,250 sq. ft on G & 1st floors – placed under offer to a, so far, mystery tenant.
  • The Scalpel, 52 Lime Street, EC3 – 46,983 sq ft on 2nd to 4th floors – placed under offer to an insurance tenant (see Metropolis for further details). The scheme is a new Grade A office tower development due to complete in Q4 2017;
  • 15 Bishopsgate, EC2 – 62,884 sq ft in the entire building – placed under offer. The office development due to complete in June 2017.

October’s City of London fringe take up of 43,194 sq m (464,940 sq ft) represents a significant 31% rise over September and was this year’s highest . Deals included:

  • C Space, 37-45 City Road, EC1 – 15,391 sq. ft on pt 3rd & 4th floors to NeuLion;
  • White Collar Factory, 100 City Road, EC1 – 25,360 sq ft on 14th & 15th floors – placed under offer to an incoming tenant (see Metropolis for further details);
  • 1&2 Paris Gardens, SE1 – 62,425 sq ft on LG, G & 1st to 4th floors under offer to a serviced office tenant;
  • The Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, SE1 – 65,000 sq ft on 6th & pt 7th floors placed under offer to a banking tenant (see Metropolis for further details);
  • Southbank Central, Vivo, Stamford Street, SE1 – 72,080 sq. ft on 1st to 3rd floors – placed under offer to an incoming tenant (see Metropolis for further details).

Details of these deals and many other impending London moves are to be found on http://www.metroinfo.co.uk

Metropolis London Skyline Report

The London Wrecking (Christmas) Ball

or “What Comes Down Must Go Up”

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Metropolis and Cityoffices have completed their bi-annual ‘Skyline’ survey of the central London office development market for the period April 2015 to October 2015. The survey takes a snapshot of the central London office construction in Q4 2015, recent completions, recent pre-letting activity and looks ahead to future pipeline projects that will shape the next three years.

There are now 78 office schemes under construction in central London (compared to 74 six months ago) totaling an increased 11.1m sq ft (9.5m sq ft in April 2015). In the last six months there have been 31 new scheme starts, totaling 3.4m sq ft, including major new-builds such as the 866,000 sq ft 100 Bishopsgate in EC3, the 400,000 sq ft 10 Fenchurch Place in the City of London and the 228,000 sq ft 33 King William Street (33 Central) in EC4.

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The City dominates construction with 6m sq ft of new office space in schemes now underway (up from 4m sq ft in early 2015). There is now 500,000 sq ft of office space under construction at Kings Cross, with more at site clearance stage. The West End, including Paddington, has 2.7m sq ft under construction and a further 600,000 sq ft of office build is on-site in Midtown, but Southbank and Docklands still lag behind the rest of London.

The big story is the forthcoming space at demolition stage, with over 7m sq ft lined up to start in early 2016 and more to follow later in the year. In reality, further schemes currently at planning stage will add to these numbers, particularly the 2017 and 2018 totals. Therefore we expect development completions in 2017 and 2018 could reach 7-8m sq ft.

Looking ahead, some 33 future schemes are currently at site preparation stage with 7.2m sq ft of additional office space due to go under construction in the next 6 months. Many of these schemes will not be completed until 2017 or 2018, however it is clear there is a strong development pipeline.

 

The full Skyline report is currently available to Metropolis clients. Further details on the Metropolis service can be found at http://www.metroinfo.co.uk.

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd 2015

 

London West End Autumn 2015 – A Preview

Significant Demand In The Pipeline

This Metropolis blog breaks new ground with an attempt to give clients an insight into the ‘work in progress’ on forthcoming office requirements in the London West End market. In the spirit of those TV autumn trailers, we set out below a flavour of some of the stories we hope to bring Metropolis clients over the next two months.

Some Background

Outstanding, unsatisfied, named office requirements in central London are now estimated by Metropolis to be over 10m sq ft, which is the highest figure since the recession. This can only be an approximate figure as ‘requirements’ cover all types of searches from urgent ones involving tenants in buildings where the lease expires ahead of demolition to half-hearted searches by occupiers who are 90% sure that they will renew the lease, but want to compare the market in order to put some pressure on the existing landlord.

Many of the larger requirements (over 20,000 sq ft) are in advance of lease expiries in 2017-19. However, smaller searches below 10,000 sq ft, are often launched less than 18 months before lease expiry. In many cases the occupier is only looking because it needs more space, has a lease end, or it is affected by redevelopment. The costs of relocation tend to limit the number of ‘sideways moves’ involving a company relocating from one building to another, whilst keeping its occupancy size the same.

Recent West End Activity

Office relocation  activity in London’s West End has been a little muted so far in 2015. Figures compiled by Metropolis show Central London take-up in the 8 months to August was 7.6m sq ft, of which only 2m sq ft was to office space in the West End. Some 140,000 sq ft has been pre-let, 450,000 sq ft is grade A newly completed space, with the remainder secondhand.

Some of the larger deals have included Marshall Wace Asset Management’s 43,000 sq ft pre-let of 131 Sloane Street in Knightsbridge; Richemont’s 38,000 sq ft deal at Walmer House on Regents Street and just last month King.com’s letting of 65,000 sq ft at the recently-completed Ampersand Building on Oxford Street. Facebook is also set to confirm its 217,000 sq ft pre-letting of the under construction Rathbone Square in London, W1, which will be the largest West End letting this year.

What’s Coming Up

We are currently researching a number of promising West End leads which look likely to result in 40 named requirements and potentially 1.6m sq ft of office deals.

The majority of office requirements are for a move in 2016 (29), with the remainder lining up moves for 2017 or 2018. Some 23 occupiers are citing expansion as the trigger for their move, while 16 have lease events and the remainder are consolidating fragmented buildings or downsizing.

In terms of the sector, as the graph below shows, it is the media sector which dominates, followed by IT/e-commerce and financial services, including hedge funds and asset managers. The business services sector also remains important with a steady stream of new requirements from serviced office operators.

 

WE Requirements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around a quarter of companies are looking in the core areas of Mayfair and St James’s, with a further quarter searching in Victoria. A further 25% are searching Soho and north of Oxford Street up to Kings Cross and Euston with the remainder looking in fringe areas such as Camden or Hammersmith.

By size, around half of the 40 requirements are below 20,000 sq ft, with a third between 20,000 and 50,000 sq ft and the remaining five searches are over 100,000 sq ft.

In Conclusion

There is a healthy pipeline of new requirements being launched in London’s West End this autumn. As would be expected, media companies, hedge funds and asset managers are very active, but these have been joined by some of the large e-commerce and social network companies and business service providers to increase the competition for space. Metropolis is working to research the details of these requirements and will be publishing these online for clients shortly.

 

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd 2015

Metropolis Office Requirements – H1

Over 450 companies vie for London space

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Metropolis research identified over 17m sq ft of UK office demand in the first half of 2015. Just over 9.2m sq ft of this demand was for office space in Greater London, with over 450 companies searching for London space. In the rest of the UK Metropolis uncovered 400 requirements for new space representing 8.1m sq ft of office demand.

Central London office demand reached 8m sq ft, 3.8m sq ft (47.5%) of which was focused on the City of London. EC2 was the most popular postcode for companies planning a move,  with 1.4m sq ft of demand emerging in H1.

A significant proportion of total City of London demand (11%) came from two new law firm requirements, each firm looking for 200,000 sq ft. A new 150,000 sq ft requirement from an insurance group was also worthy of note. Demand from the banking and finance sector reached 1m sq ft, 26% of total City of London demand.

Demand for space in the West End, where rents can reach £125 psf, hit 1.8m sq ft. The largest West End requirement (150,000 sq ft) came from a social media group looking for offices in SW1. Just over 400,000 sq ft of office space (26% of total demand) was required by the banking & finance sector, 79% of which (315,000 sq ft) came from hedge funds and private investment firms.

Mid Town office demand reached 0.9m sq ft, pretty evenly split between WC1 and WC2. About 100,000 sq ft of Mid Town demand came from the technology sector and 90,000 sq ft from the media sector. Demand from law firms was just over 120,000 sq ft and demand from the banking and finance sector totalled 110,000 sq ft.

The largest office requirement in the South Bank (SE1) was a 140,000 sq ft search by an engineering and construction firm. Other requirements of note include a US insurance firm switching a 60,000 sq ft search from Maidenhead to London SE1, and a TV Broadcaster looking for 30,000 sq ft to house its news department.

Two big requirements dominated demand for office space in the Docklands: a German investment bank back office requirement for 350,000 sq ft and an information company requirement for 300,000 sq ft, with a sub-let mooted.

 

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The Top 5 Regional Cities

Manchester – The largest requirement, 400,000 sq ft, was a search by a government department considering space near Piccadilly Station in Manchester. Just over 250,000 sq ft of Manchester office demand came from the legal sector and 300,000 sq ft of demand was attributed to the insurance sector.

Edinburgh – Similar to the picture in Manchester, Edinburgh demand was dominated by a large government requirement for office space (300,000 sq ft), although this requirement could move to Glasgow. In terms of private sector demand, notable requirements included a 100,000 sq ft search by a US Bank and two significant searches from law firms seeking a move in central Edinburgh, one for 50,000 sq ft and the other 30,000 sq ft. There was also significant demand from the accountancy sector, with four firms searching for just over 130,000 sq ft.

Birmingham – A retail bank was linked with the largest office requirement in Birmingham: 170,000 sq ft,  a search now satisfied by space at Miller Developments Arena Central scheme.  Other significant requirements include a potential 100,000 sq ft search from a law firm and a 50,000 sq ft search from a business education group.

Reading – The largest requirement for Reading offices came from a network broadcaster looking for 150,000 sq ft, closely followed by a utility company searching for 140,000 sq ft. Both requirements also consider other Thames valley locations such as Bracknell, Farnborough and Slough.

Bristol – Bristol office demand was dominated by insurance company requirements, with the sector accounting for 56% of total demand (280,000 sq ft). Other notable requirements include an 80,000 sq ft search from a Bristol based law firm planning to combine two of its offices (which may now be a refurbishment and extension of the existing building) and an engineering group searching for 25,000 sq ft.

 

Top Ten Cities (Excluding London) by H1 Office Demand

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Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd 2015