Thames Valley Office Market Update

JLL’s just published Western Corridor office market report concludes that the Thames Valley enjoyed a solid start to 2018. Take-up across the region totalled approximately 516,000 sq ft, representing an increase of 31% on the corresponding quarter of 2017.

The first quarter of 2018 was characterised by smaller deals, according to JLL. The the majority of activity (80%) taking place in the 10,000 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft size band. Deal numbers increased by 50% from 24 deals in Q1 2017 to 36 deals in Q1 2018.

Metropolis reported on over 30 planned relocations in the M4 corridor in Q1 2018, such as FM Global taking 57,000 sq ft at Voyager Place in Maidenhead; Black+Decker taking 49,000 sq ft at 270 Bath Road, Slough; Panasonic taking 41,000 sq ft at Maxis office scheme in Bracknell; Fora Space taking 28,000 sq ft at Thames Tower, Reading; JDA Software taking 23,000 sq ft and Riverbed Technology 16,000 sq ft at Maxis office scheme in Bracknell; GiffGaff taking 23,000 sq ft in Uxbridge; Quest Software taking 13,000 sq ft at Arlington Square, Bracknell and MBNL at Thames Tower, Reading.

JLL say that supply of office space is flattening, falling below 10m sq ft and this is expected to moderate further over 2018.  JLL also think that availability will decline in 2019 and 2020 as the number of active speculative development schemes reduce.

James Finnis, head of south east office agency at JLL, said: “The Q1 take-up figures represent a solid start to 2018. The 50% increase in the number of deals in Q1 illustrates growing occupier confidence. Occupiers are focused on the best space and there is widespread evidence of tenants trading up but taking less overall sq ft. Flexibility remains important with occupiers wanting to build in options to either grow or downsize. The addition of serviced or co-working space into multi let buildings is a natural extension of this, providing on site swing space.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 50 office searches of various sizes along the Thames Valley and talking to over 100 occupiers with approaching lease expiries in the area.

 

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Metropolis Office Movers in February 2018

Metropolis ran 528 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the slightly  shorter month of February 2018. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 15 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 235 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (50),  North West (48), Scotland (42) and Yorkshire (41).  IT and business services 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, company 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 538 February leads, included those on occupiers Facebook, Anixter, Dar Al Handasah, Novartis and CAF Rail.

The February 2018 leads included 156 ‘identified requirements’, including 82 in London. Which means that the company confirmed to researchers that it has current or future plans to search for alternative office space. Of these 156 searches, 100 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 151 ‘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 just 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 tender 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

Birmingham Breaks 1m sq ft

Colliers has just published its latest report on the Birmingham office market.

It reveals that Central Birmingham office take-up in Q4 2017 totalled 354,530 sq ft in 49 deals, taking the annual total past 1 million sq ft for the first time. The total was boosted by the 239,000 sq ft pre-let by the UK Government (GPU) at 3 Arena Central in Q3. The year-end take-up totalled 1,005,072 sq ft in 130 separate deals. Further GPU requirements are also in the pipeline for the next five years as departments including Ministry of Justice and DWP also seek to consolidate and upgrade their regional offices in Birmingham.

Amongst the largest Q4 lettings, IWG (formerly Regus) secured 76,000 sq ft of offices at Crossway on Great Charles Street, as well as 33,300 sq ft of the newly refurbished Lewis Building. Co-working operator iHub signed for 18,000 sq ft at Colmore Gate and MSO Workspace took 9,850 sq ft at 11 Brindleyplace. Serviced office providers are catering for a growing demand from banking, outsourcing and infrastructure clients who seek a flexible occupational solution as a result of investment by HSBC and HS2.  In addition, PwC took an additional pre-let of 58,631 sq ft at Two Chamberlain Square to add to the 90,000 sq ft it took at the scheme in 2016. Metropolis also reported that Spark44 took  14,176 sq ft at Norfolk House and The Princes’s Trust, took 1,773 sq m (18,980 sq ft) of offices at the Beorma Quarter. Recently, engineering consultancy firm WSP signed for 47,000 sq ft of refurbished space at Mailbox for its West Midlands regional headquarters.

On the supply side, Three Snowhill (420,000 sq ft) and 1&2 Chamberlain Square (232,000 sq ft) are due for completion by late 2019. The 42-acre Birmingham Smithfield is due to be redeveloped into over 3 million sq ft of commercial space, and in Edgbaston, there is consent for a £300 million regeneration of a 10.7-acre plot along Hagley Road. by Calthorpe Estates and U+I, known as New Garden Square, which could potentially deliver more than 600,000 sq ft of office space.

Metropolis is monitoring 50 companies searching for offices in the Birmingham area and nearly 60 companies approaching lease decisions over the next two years.

200 Movers in Manchester

A recent report from the Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF) revealed a total of 1.208m sq ft of office lettings across 271 transactions in 2017, well above the 10-year average.

Metropolis ran over 330 business leads on Manchester office moves in 2017, which if all added together would total over 10m sq ft.

MOAF said strong demand for prime offices has left the market with a record low supply of Grade A office space.

The main schemes with available space are 101 Embankment, No 1 Spinningfields, 3 Hardman Square, 40 Spring Gardens and 2 St Peter’s Square, which is likely to trigger some short-term refurbishment projects

There are a number of Grade A schemes under construction to include Landmark (180,000 sq ft), 125 Deansgate (126,000 sq ft), Hanover, NOMA (90,000 sq ft), Circle Square (230,000 sq ft) and 11 York Street (80,000 sq ft), the majority of which will be delivered in mid-late 2019.

Key office lettings in 2017 included: 55,802 sq ft to We Work at No1 Spinningfields and 44,000 sq ft at One St Peters Square, 77,449 sq ft to DWP at 2 St Peters Square and Clyde & Co taking 69,000 sq ft at Manchester Royal Exchange.

Metropolis research also relayed early warning news of large Manchester moves by companies including Barclays Bank, Distelrec, Bupa, Callcare, Virgin Media and The Hut.

Forthcoming Manchester moves tipped by Metropolis for 2018 or beyond total just over 200.

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

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.

Office Moves Planned in July

Metropolis ran 580 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the month of July 2017. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 16 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 247 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (63) and North West (62), Scotland (44). IT services and financial were the two 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 580 July leads. included those on Citi (Citigroup), HMRC, Credit Agricole and WeWork.

The July 2017 leads included 200 ‘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 200 searches, 134 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 130 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a relocation, but have 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.

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, saw a further 33 stories posted in July, covering new development opportunities planning applications, consents, construction starts and development teams in London and major cities. The database now covers over 200 office schemes in the pipeline for construction starts in 2017-2020.

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

Manchester’s Top Future Relocations

Lambert Smith Hampton has just released its Manchester office market report for Q2 2017. City centre office take-up for reached 284,497 sq ft across 68 transactions, a 23.3% increase on the same quarter in 2016. The cumulative 492,730 sq ft for the first half of 2017 is an increase of 14.6% on 2016.

The latest big relocations, movers and inward investments included: co-working giant We Work taking 55,802 sq ft offices at No.1 Spinningfields. Weightmans took 17,949 sq ft at the same building. EY is taking 40,000 sq ft at 2 St Peters Square; Car Finance 247 is relocating to 40,000 sq ft at Universal Building, Devonshire Street North; Distrelec is taking 17,000 sq ft at 2 St Peter’s Square, while Vodafone signed for 33,000 sq ft at Atlantic House.  Lookers acquired the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham,  21,200 sq ft was let at Regent Place, Salford to Convergys and Kaplan Financial also agreed a 10,000 sq ft move. Deals under 3,000 sq ft still accounted for 40% of take up

LSH secured the largest office deal this year outside of the city centre by acquiring 47,149 sq ft at 106 Dalton Avenue at Patrizia UK’s Birchwood Park, Warrington for Cavendish Nuclear. Business Services, consumer services and leisure and banking and finance have been the strongest sectors for take-up in the first half of the year. These three sectors accounted for 34%, 20% and 18% of take-up respectively

Metropolis is monitoring around 50 current office requirements in Manchester and around 60 ‘potential movers’, that is companies approaching lease expiries or with expansion plans, which have not decided whether to move yet.

Looking ahead, Manchester is expected to see faster office based employment growth over the next five years than Greater London and all of the major UK regional cities. Office based employment is
expected to grow by 6% over the next five years, significantly above the UK average of 3.5%.