Central London Office Lettings – April 2017

Central London office lettings in April 2017 recorded nearly 800,000 sq ft of deals from 41 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The April figure represents a fall on the 1.05m sq ft sq ft of lettings in March, but remains close to recent the monthly average.

April was characterised by 13 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Nex Group’s 111,000 sq ft sublet at Fruit and Wool Exchange: Wither’s 60,000 sq ft pre-let at 20 Old Bailey in London, EC4; BUPA taking 56,000 sq ft at Angel Court Tower, London, EC2 and Equinix taking 29,000 sq ft at the Pepper Store in EC2.

Financial services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Nex Group deal, this was followed by business services bouyed by the serviced office sector and professional services with large deals involving Withers and DLA Piper. Property and construction also performed well helped by the lettings to M7 Real Estate and Sir Robert McAlpine. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London rose to 3m sq ft and volumes are rising in nearly all submarkets.

By area, the City accounted for an improved 57pc of the office floorspace let in April at 440,000 sq ft – 50% up on the March level. The West End saw 160,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 130,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3m 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 469,000 sq ft (60% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space maintained their 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

Spring Step for South East Offices

A recent report from Colliers International concluded that office lettings in Q1 2017 in the South East reached 741,295 sq ft, which is down around 5% on a year ago

The largest deals in the first quarter were to ASOS at Leavesdon Park, Watford (75,000 sq ft), Rank in Maidenhead (40,000 sq ft) and Allegis in Bracknell (31,000 sq ft). Macquarie Bank recently moved some office functions from their City HQ to Reading taking 12,500 sq ft.

Some 51% of take-up this quarter was for office space between 20,000 sq ft – 50,000 sq ft, which came in 12 deals.

Watford witnessed strong take up this quarter (105,000 sq ft), including ASOS at Leavesdon Park and Salmon Ltd who took a 30,000 sq ft pre-let at Clarendon Works.

Demand for space across the south east remains high according to Strutt & Parker, currently standing at 4.6m sq ft – of which 10% (462,000 sq ft) is under offer.

Metropolis added nearly 50 new searches for office space in the South East region to its live database in Q1 2017. Sectors with most occupiers newly searching include law, insurance pharmaceutical and a number of IT-related companies.

There continues to be strong occupier demand for best quality office space across the entire region say Colliers. However, supply of new office space is down 7% on Q4 2016 and the availability of vacant offices is down to half the 2010 level. There are relatively few schemes coming to the market over the next two years in both the Thames Valley and the wider South East.

Q1 2017 saw new record office rents set in Hammersmith (£59.00 per sq ft), Maidenhead (£38.00 per sq ft), Reading (£36.50 per sq ft), Watford (£31.50 per sq ft) Redhill (£31.50 per sq ft) and Slough (£28.50 per sq ft).

November 2016 Central London Lettings

Central London office lettings in November 2016 recorded nearly 1,050,000 sq ft of deals from 45 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The November figure represents a rise of 17% from the 900,000 sq ft total in October and a rise in the number of office deals over the month.

November was characterised by 10 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Freshfield’s 300,000 sq ft pre-let at 100 Bishopsgate, EC2; Fidelity took 105,000 sq ft at 4 Cannon Street, EC4 and WeWork took 72,000 sq ft at The South Bank Tower, SE1.

Professional services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Freshfields deal, along with big lettings to Olswang and Nabarro, followed by the financial sector, boosted by deals to Fidelity and EQT. Business services also performed well helped by more lettings to WeWork. Office deals under offer in central London fell slightlt to 2.5m sq ft after deals in the City and one in Southbank.

By area, the City accounted for only 78pc of the office floorspace let in November – a big increase on the 18pc in October. The West End saw 70,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 20,000 sq ft of transactions, but Southbank again performed well with 70,000. 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 a remarkable 800,000 sq ft (76% of the total), as transactions for new space kept momentum.

Take-up in central London for January to November 2016 has so far reached 9.4m sq ft with December to come. With two or three large lettings pencilled in the yearly total could touch 11m sq ft.

Cityoffices wishes all its readers a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Best quarter for Aberdeen

Recent research from CBRE reveals that in the third quarter of 2016, office lettings in Aberdeen reached 66,174 sq ft. This total made it the best performing quarter in Aberdeen so far this year.

The cumulative Aberdeen take-up volume for the first nine months of 2016 was 152,683 sq ft, below average levels for the end of the third quarter. The low oil price continues to impact on office demand although a recent increase in crude prices to $51, is signalling a possibly better year ahead.

The largest Aberdeen letting to take place in Q3 saw serviced office operator Citibase acquire a 22,000 sq ft west end office building at 9 Queens Road. Within the city centre, another floor of nearly 6,000 sq ft has been let to HM Ministry of Justice at AB1, Orega, the serviced office provider, has signed to take 26,000 sq ft on the 1st and 2nd floors at the under construction, 9-storey ‘Silver Fin’ office scheme in Aberdeen.

Metropolis is tracking around a dozen office searches and potential searches in Aberdeen.

Total office space available at the end of the third quarter reached a new high of 2.45m sq ft, which is a year-on-year increase of 45% from Q3 2015. Muse’s 170,000 sq ft Marischal Square development is also under construction and will complete in Q2 2017.

Prime office headline rents in Aberdeen are unchanged at £32 per sq ft, with an absence of recent prime transactions to challenge the current level.

Central London Office Lettings – October 2016

Central London office lettings in October 2016 recorded over 900,000 sq ft of deals from 26 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The October figure represents a rise of 26% from the 720,000 sq ft total in September and a rise in the number of deals over the month. However, much of the October total can be attributed to Apple’s 500,000 sq ft pre-let at Battersea Power Station and remainder of the month was disappointing and would have been the lowest monthly take-up figure since April 2012 .

October was characterised by 9 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, apart from Apple at Battersea; London Borough of Westminster took 57,000 sq ft at 5 Strand, WC2; Deliveroo took 51,000 sq ft at Cannon Bridge House, EC4 and The Economist took 25,000 sq ft at The Adelphi, WC2.

Computer services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Apple deal, followed by media sector, boosted by deals to The Economist and Spark44. Public sector also performed well. Office deals under offer in central London edged up to around 3m sq ft and include two large pending deals in the City and one in Southbank. Enquiry levels are up slightly.

By area, the City accounted for only 18pc of the office floorspace let in October. The West End saw 100,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 90,000 sq ft of transactions, but Southbank was predominant. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 4.5m sq ft in the City and 3.5m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 613,000 sq ft (65% of the total), as transactions for new space kept momentum.

New research currently being prepared by Metropolis and Cityoffices for a major report on London office construction, reveals that over 14m sq ft of offices are now underway in central London.

Central London Lettings August 2016

Central London office lettings in August 2016 recorded just over 580,000 ft of deals from 41 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The August figure represents a fallback from the 850,000 sq ft total in July, but sees a rise in the number of deals over the month.

August was characterised by 10 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, including Moneysupermarket at 1 Dean Street W1; Dimensional Fund Advisors at 20 Triton Street, NW1; New Day at Kings Cross, N1 and Hampshire Trust Bank at 55 Bishopsgate, EC2.

IT services topped the table of lettings by sector, followed by financial services, boosted by the Dimensional Fund Advisors letting. Insurance and business services are also performing well. Office deals under offer in central London remain around 2.8m sq ft and include two large pending deals in Midtown.

By area, the City accounted for 33pc of the office floorspace let in August. The West End saw 250,000 sq ft of take-up. Southbank had a good month with 80,000 sq ft of transactions. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 4.2m 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 239,000 sq ft (41% of the total), as transactions for new space kept momentum.

New research from Metropolis reveals there are some 400 medium/large companies in central London which have yet to make decisions on leases due to expire in 2017.

Active Belfast

A recent report on the Belfast office market by CBRE revealed record high levels of take-up at 232,000 sq ft from 31 midsize-large deals in the 6 months to July 2016. This was an increase of 165% based on the first half of 2015.

CBRE expect take-up in the remainder of 2016 to remain strong as a good number of deals are ‘under offer’, coupled with the large volume of requirements. CBRE estimate 750,000 sq ft of requirements for the Belfast market, mainly from existing occupiers looking to expand.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 20 requirements from medium or large companies looking for office space in Belfast.

Professional services firms and the public sector make up the majority of the existing requirements. Recent announced moves include lettings to Navinet, Liberty IT, PuppetLabs, Tourism NI, Regus, Genesys, BRS Golf, Genpact, Citi, Arup, EY and Shopkeep.com. Announced expansions include SpotXi, Manage, HighWire Press Inc, Sixty-5, Pearson Management Services and Alert Logic. PwC adding a further 21,200 sq ft to their existing base in Waterfront Plaza. Tullett Prebon intend to develop a new technology centre and create up to 300 new jobs in Belfast.

There is some 800,000 sq ft of available office space in Belfast in July 2016, down 66,500 sq ft over six months. The amount of existing Grade A space is 141,300 sq ft. Schemes due for imminent completion include Linen Lofts in Adelaide Street and Lincoln Building on Great Victoria Street. Both schemes are attracting letting interest. Construction work continues on the 96,000 sq ft City Quays 2 at Belfast Harbour for Q1 2017 completion. Around 215,000 sq ft of Grade A offices are to be developed at Bedford Square by McAleer & Rushe. An application to redevelop 35-47 Donegall Place in Belfast to provide additional Grade A office accommodation has also recently been made. Consent has been gained to build two office blocks at a £55m development on East Bridge Street.

Looking ahead, local agents say the effects of the Brexit decision are still unclear, however, the early signs are that long-term requirements are still moving ahead .