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

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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%.

Central London Lettings – May 2017

Central London office lettings in May 2017 recorded just over 600,000 sq ft of deals from 40 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The May figure represents a fall on the 800,000 sq ft sq ft of lettings in April, but the number of deals remains close to recent the monthly average.

May was characterised by six office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Hearst Publishing’s 71,000 sq ft deal at the LSQ Building in Leicester Square, WC2: WeWork took 70,000 sq ft at 1 Mark Square in London, EC2; Man Group taking 41,000 sq ft at 90 Upper Thames Street, London, EC4 and Petrochina taking 35,000 sq ft at the Adelphi Building in WC2.

Media topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Hearst Group deal, this was followed by business services bouyed by the serviced office sector and financial services with large deals involving Man Group and Hambro. Retail also performed well, helped by the lettings to Crabtree and Deliveroo. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London rose to 3.6m sq ft and volumes are rising in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 50pc of the office floorspace let in May at 300,000 sq ft – similar to the April level. The West End saw 90,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 167,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.2m 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 150,000 sq ft (25% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space paused from the recent strong showing.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are shortly to release its twice yearly Skyline report on the London office construction market. The summer report features details of the 100 schemes under construction and the trends for the next wave of schemes. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Thames Valley gives mixed signals

A new report from Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) on the Thames Valley office market reveals a mixture of trends.  LSH report 126 enquiries (over 5,000 sq ft) in Q1 2017, an increase of 31% compared with the 96 received in the previous quarter, however these are mainly made up of smaller enquiries and LSH say that requirements for units of over 30,000 sq ft are running well below the long term average.

Take-up in Q1 2017 was 425,352 sq ft, a fall of 3 % from the 439,331 sq ft transacted in the previous quarter and 18.6% below Q1 2016’s total of 522,770 sq ft. The total is below the five-year average take-up of 482,169 sq ft and given the drop in large enquiries, take-up may suffer in upcoming quarters. Large deals included: MediaWorks, White City – 70,000 sq ft acquired by Net-a-Porter and Tor, Maidenhead – 40,000 sq ft letting to Rank Group.  Moves underway include Body Shop, Maersk, Macquarie Bank and EDF Energy.

The active sectors in Q1 2017 were professional (31%), technology, media and communications (25%) and pharmaceuticals (14%).  LSH say that 74% of all office take up in Q1 2017 was centred on just five of the 14 centres – Blackwater Valley, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Oxford and Reading. Reading continues to attract some big names and it’s key Business Parks are home to some of the world’s largest high-tech firms including Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Symantec, Logica CMG, Huawei, Veritas and more recently, major corporates such as Bayer and Thales.
Metropolis has published 260 stories about the relocation plans of 260 Thames Valley and South East companies in the last three months; including 75 companies searching for office space. In addition, it has reported on the plans of a further 60 companies that are approaching lease decisions.
The outlook for the Thames Valley seems to be for a slightly muted summer 2017, but with the recent rating revaluation and the nearing of the completion of the Elizabeth line, the near-term will see more occupiers relocating further out of Central London along the Thames Valley from early 2018.

Central London Lettings – December 2016

Central London office lettings in December 2016 recorded over 1.8m sq ft of deals from 73 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The December figure represents a rise of 58% from the 1,050,000 sq ft total in November and was the highest monthly total of the year.

December was characterised by 19 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included the GPU’s 536,000 sq ft letting of 20 Cabot Square, E14; Financial Times took 182,000 sq ft at Bracken House, EC4 and Barings took 109,000 sq ft at 20 Old Bailey, EC4.

Public services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the GPU deal, this was followed by financial services with large lettings to Barings, Argus and Marubeni. Media also performed well helped by the letting to the Financial Times. Office deals under offer in central London fell to 2 m sq ft after the stream of completed deals.

By area, the City accounted for 44pc of the office floorspace let in December – a fallback from the 78pc in November, but the 800,000 sq ft of transactions was still a healthy level. The West End saw 300,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 165,000 sq ft of lettings, Southbank contributed 60,000, but Docklands saw 550,000 sq ft in four new leases. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 4m 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 408,000 sq ft (23% of the total), as transactions for new space kept up a steady pace.

Take-up in central London for 2016 reached 11m sq ft, as predicted by Metropolis and Cityoffices. Some 600+ London searches remain outstanding for 2017. A more in depth report to follow for clients.

Leeds market focus

The latest Colliers International report on the Leeds office market revealed a quiet summer 2016 with only 73,100 sq ft of transactions across 25 deals. Some of the larger deals included Plexus Law taking 14,500 sq ft at Joseph’s Well, Slater & Gordon taking 10,000 sq ft at 2 City West, NHS Property taking 10,000 sq ft in Horsforth and Addleshaw Goddard nearly 8,000 sq ft at 3 Sovereign Square.

Total first half take-up in 2016 reached nearly 200,000 sq ft helped by Sky Bet taking 39,600 sq ft at 6 Wellington Place, RSM pre-let 25,000 sq ft at Central Square and Dentsu Aegis secured 13,800 sq ft at the newly refurbished 6 East Parade.

Local agents predict that the Leeds office market will remain slow due to occupier uncertainty and limited upcoming lease events, although there remain a number of active enquiries within the marketplace.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 companies looking for office space in the Leeds area, including HMRC Hub, Willis Towers Watson and Dart Group/Jet2 and some substantial requirements in the professional services sector. In addition, there are around 40 companies approaching lease expiries in 2017 where decisions are yet to be made, including a number of software groups. Further ahead, over half a million sq ft of lease events are scheduled in the next few years

New schemes launched in Leeds earlier this year include 6 Wellington Place, 6 East Parade and 120 Wellington Street. A further 500,000 sq ft has just been completed including 69,000 sq ft at 6 Queen Street, 75,000 sq ft at 5 Wellington Place and 200,000 sq ft at Central Square. Speculative schemes at Kirkstall Forge and Thorpe Park are set to boost grade A availability in the future.

 

Insurance Sector at a Premium

A recent report by property consultant CBRE focusses on prospects for the insurance sector. The London market includes 65 speciality insurers, 91 Lloyds syndicates, 56 managing agents and over 200 insurance brokers. In addition, centres such as Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh are also seeing considerable activity.

The report cites recent deals by Aon, JLT, Zurich and Markel in moving from older premises to modern single building London HQs. Indeed, the success of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ office tower in Fenchurch Street and the ‘Cheesegrater’ both in EC3 can be largely attributed to the dozens of relocating insurance companies. The report also spotlights a high level of merger and acquisition activity that has led to combined office requirements. Recent merger examples include Aviva and Friends Life, Ace and Chubb, Swiss Re and Guardian, Mitsui and Amlin as well as Willis and Towers Watson. Further consolidation is forecast.

Future insurance sectors trends could include the creation of out of town support centres, quite possibly in regional cities, as seen in the banking and legal industries. The implementation of new technology is likely to speed this process over the next few years. Metropolis is currently tracking 35 medium/large insurance companies in London with confirmed requirements or approaching lease expiry decisions. In addition, Metropolis is preparing to call a further 40 London-based insurance companies with lease expiries approaching. The majority of these are based in the EC3 postcode area of the City of London. Beyond London, companies such as Aon, Allianz, NFU, Aviva and Zurich are expanding and upgrading their regional centres.

Overall, insurance companies occupy almost 6m sq ft of offices in central London with 2m sq ft of space occupied by companies that are within five years of a lease expiry. Metropolis estimate up to 3m sq ft of insurance occupied office space is spread across the rest of the UK.

London office schemes in the pipeline that could appeal to insurers include: the redevelopment of 6-8 Bishopsgate; the 880,000 sq ft of 40 Leadenhall Street otherwise known as the ‘Leadenhall triangle’; 70 St Mary Axe; the Scalpel; 80 Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Court (further details on Cityoffices.net). In total, nearly 2m sq ft of pipeline insurance district office space.

In conclusion, any thoughts that the completion and near full letting of 20 Fenchurch Street and the Leadenhall Tower would take the wind out of the rise in insurance sector office demand looks misplaced, with a forecast increase on the 450,000 sq ft of London insurance lettings in 2015, for the year ahead and regional requirements of over 300,000 sq ft.