London Office Market – January 2019

Central London office lettings in January 2019 reached just under 1m sq ft from 44 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The January 2019 figure is in line with the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

January was characterised by 15 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the WeWork’s 159,000 sq ft deal at Merchant Square, Paddington, W2, along with large deals to Alvarez & Marsal in London, EC2; Cinven’s large deal at 21 St James’s Square, SW1; plus Foraspace and ETC Venues at Southwark Bridge Road and 133 Houndsditch, EC3 respectively.

Business services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the WeWork deal and several other serviced office lettings. This was followed by financial services led by lettings to Cinven and Gartner. Insurance, professional and media were also well represented.

Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London fell slightly to 3.3m 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 42pc of the office floorspace let in January 2019 at 400,000 sq ft. The West End saw 355,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 74,000 sq ft of lettings and Docklands 50,000 sq ft. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.7m 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 a healthy 420,000 sq ft sq ft (45% 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, with pending deals for space of up to 1.5m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Paul Ives Metropolis paul@metroinfo.co.uk

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Edinburgh Boost

Recent figures on the Edinburgh office market in 2018 revealed that take-up totalled 855,000 sq ft (79,461 sq m) in 2018. This level of office lettings exceeds the ten year average for the fourth year running according to Cushman & Wakefield and just fails to beat the record 1.05m sq ft of office moves registered in 2017.

Some of the larger deals in Edinburgh last year include Baillie Gifford acquiring 60,000 sq ft at Chris Stewart Group’s 20 West Register Street, Royal London taking 47,000 sq ft from Aviva at 22 Haymarket Yards, Artemis taking 13,710 sq ft at Exchange Plaza and law firms Brodies securing 43,000 sq ft and Pinsent Mason taking 25,000 sq ft at BAM/Hermes’ new development at Capital Square. Diageo’s pre-let 11-12 Lochside Place and Charles River expanded at Clearwater House, Heriot-Watt Research Park and now occupy the full building

Metropolis ran 200 leads on Edinburgh occupier’s move intentions including 50 companies searching for alternative space and a further 60 which have yet to decide whether to view space.

The insurance and financial services sectors have been particularly active within Edinburgh, accounting for 45% of Edinburgh’s total take-up – while they typically form an active part of the market this is a 54% increase on the five-year average. Major occupiers are signing deals to pre-let the best new space under construction, leaving limited choice for occupiers coming to lease breaks who want to upgrade.

Vacancy rates have come down even further from 3.55 per cent in Q2 to 3.35 per cent in Q4.

Looking ahead, only future schemes at 2 Semple Street and 80 George Street are capable of providing supply of Grade A office space. However, over the longer term, Edinburgh now has its development hopes pinned on the future of the planned scheme at The Haymarket, following the sale to M&G.

Metropolis is currently tracking 40 Edinburgh based occupiers with future move plans and a further 60 office occupiers which are expected to come to a decision in 2019.

Birmingham Offices Looking Ahead

Birmingham office market during 2018 saw 754,000 sq ft of office space transacted in 113 letting deals. This was a little down on the 1m sq ft of take-up in 2017 which included a 240,000 sq ft Government letting at Arena Central, but up on the 693,000 sq ft of office moves agreed in 2016.

Major lettings during 2018 included: WSP taking 46,000 sq ft at The Mailbox, BE Group taking 38,000 sq ft at Somerset House, Zurich Insurance taking 23,000 sq ft at Colmore Square and General Dental Council agreeing to move to 22,000 sq ft at 1 Colmore Square.

Metropolis ran 80 leads on Birmingham office moves during 2018, with 25 searches for office space ongoing.

A recent report by Knight Frank highlights notable expansions such as Hogan Lovells have quadrupling the size of its Birmingham office, taking 23,000 sq ft at The Colmore Building. The law firm is taking advantage of the cost benefits such as lower wages and property costs in the city.

Over the last 18 months Birmingham has witnessed an upsurge in flexible office provision. More than 20% of Birmingham transactions (approx 313,000 sq. ft.) have been divided between various flexible models such as co-working, traditional managed centres, and operators who are providing a fixed term, fully serviced office, to identified occupiers. Instant Offices (3 buildings), Spaces (2 buildings) and MSO have been notably active, acquiring a number of locations.

Knight Frank say take-up of Grade A accommodation repeatedly accounts for over 50% of total activity within central Birmingham. High quality space deals are driven in part by the occupiers’ seeking to raise the profile of their business and enhance their staff recruitment potential. The wellbeing of staff and the workplace is shaping occupier decision-making. Access green walls, health and leisure facilities and high quality on-site catering is becoming as important.

Looking ahead, Knight Frank confirm a number of potential lettings are currently in advance talks at city centre office buildings including The Lewis Building, One Colmore Square, The Colmore Building and Baskerville House as well as some pre-let discussions. Metropolis lists a number of the occupiers interested in these schemes.

At developments under construction, including 103 Colmore Row, 3 Snowhill and 2 Chamberlain Square at Paradise, there is a significant level of advanced pre-let discussions with occupiers

London Office Market in 2018

Central London office lettings in 2018 reached just over 12.3m sq ft from 554 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the year. The 2018 figure matched the 2017 London take-up total, but with slightly fewer deals.

2018 was characterised by 167 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by two large deals Facebook in Kings Cross and The Chinese Embassy at the Royal Mint; followed by a clutch of smaller, mainly pre-let deals to Sumitomo, WPP, Sidley Austin and WeWork.

IT and business services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the Facebook deal and the large number of lettings to serviced office operators. This was followed by financial services led by lettings to Sumitomo, BGC and TP Icap. Insurance, professional and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London remained at 3.1m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 43pc of the office floorspace let in 2018 at 5.3m sq ft. The West End saw 2.5m sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 2.4m sq ft of lettings and Docklands 900,000 sq ft. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.7m sq ft in the City and 3.2m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the year, reached a healthy 6.5m sq ft sq ft (53% of the yearly total), as transactions for new space continued their recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 645 ‘live’ London office requirements, with pending deals for space of up to 1.4m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Details on Metropolis database from Paul Ives at paul@metroinfo.co.uk

Office Market Defies Gravity

Office market reviews for 2018 suggest that he UK office market continued to defy gravity as the third and fourth quarters recorded one of the highest levels of office letting activity in the last five years.

The Central London market is seeing quarterly take-up of up to 3.5 million sq ft, the highest since 2015. The increase was boosted by a number of large transactions in new or recently refurbished space, which is accounting for two-thirds of all deals. The number of pre-lets announced in the year has broken records. Space under offer in central London currently totals nearly 3 million sq ft, suggesting year-end take-up could exceed 12 million sq ft and be the highest seen in the capital since 2015.

Regional cities are also seeing high office mover activity with almost 2 million sq ft of space acquired per quarter, the second-highest on record. Letting activity in Glasgow reached a record level, and Newcastle recently reached a 14-year quarterly high. All but one of the eight regions witnessed a quarter-on-quarter increase in take-up.

Metropolis Research reported on over 5,000 individual office moves over the course of the year, with many more occupiers poised to make decisions in 2019

London Office Market – November 2018

Central London office lettings in November 2018 reached just over 1m sq ft from 57 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The November 2018 figure is in line with the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

November was characterised by 16 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Deloitte Digital’s 99,000 sq ft deal at Shoe Place, EC4 along with large deals to Starlizard in Camden; THB Group’s pre-let at 22 Bishopsgate, EC3 plus Axis Speciality and National Australia Bank at ‘The Scalpel’.

IT services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the Deloitte deal. This was followed by business services led by lettings to Knotel, ETC Venues and Wework. Insurance, professional and business services were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London remained at 3.7m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 48pc of the office floorspace let in November 2018 at 480,000 sq ft. The West End saw 200,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 150,000 sq ft of lettings and Docklands 40,000 sq ft. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.8m sq ft in the City and 3.3m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month, reached a healthy 460,000 sq ft sq ft (46% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 635 ‘live’ London office requirements, with pending deals for space of up to 1.5m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is close to completing on its autumn ‘Skyline Survey’ Report in London. Details on Metropolis database from Paul Ives at paul@metroinfo.co.uk

Central London office lettings in August 2018

Central London office lettings in August 2018 reached just over 750,000 sq ft from 40 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The August 2018 figure is below the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

August was characterised by 9 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Investec’s 123,000 sq ft deal to pre-let 55 Gresham Street, EC2, N1; Competition and Markets Authority 105,000 sq ft deal at 25 Cabot Square, E14 and Hiscox’s 75,000 sq ft pre-let at 22 Bishopsgate, EC2.

Financial services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the Investec deal. This was followed by business services led by a number of lettings to Office Space in Town and LEO. Insurance, professional and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.9m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 47pc of the office floorspace let in August 2018 at 354,000 sq ft. The West End saw 150,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 69,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.7m sq ft in the City and 3.2m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 413,000 sq ft sq ft (55% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 645 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.8m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is working on its autumn ‘Skyline Survey’ in London. Further details of office scheme planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail are listed on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on Metropolis and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk