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.

Advertisements

London Office Development

The Deloitte Crane Survey Summer 2019 has just been published with data contributed by Metropolis and Cityoffices. In this blog we look at the main survey findings and some of the other additional trends that were not highlighted in the final report.

Last year the survey reported that after a small dip in Q3 2018. However in Q1 2019 the volume of London office space under construction has risen 12% to 13.2m sq ft. There were 37 new schemes started in the last six months. Major new starts included the 611,000 sq ft Facebook HQ at Kings Cross and the 245,000 sq ft 1 Finsbury Avenue, EC2.

Deloitte highlight a trend towards refurbishment construction projects in the City of London, whereas Kings Cross is leading the new-build starts. The City will see completions in 2019 to towers at 22 and 100 Bishopsgate, with more office towers planned.

Some 6m sq ft of office space is planned for completion in central London in 2019, matching the 2018 figure. Occupiers are jostling for the new space with 55% of the space due for completion this year already pre-let. Finanancial services, technology and serviced office occupiers are particularly active. The fringe areas of Southbank including Battersea, Kings Cross and Paddington are attracting more pre-lets than the West End.

Deloitte conclude that new Grade A office space availability is falling with 30m sq ft currently in the pipeline, which represents a 23% fall in the last two years. However, London’s office pipeline is always waxing and waning. The recent short term trend and looking back historically cannot be relied upon in the longer term. Indeed, the number of schemes at demolition or site preparation stage, such as the Leadenhall  Triangle, Ropemaker and 6-8 Bishopsgate, continues to be healthy. Research showed that 6.5m sq ft of central London offices are poised to start construction in the latter half of 2019, giving a healthy pipeline going forward.

Looking at planning applications over the last year in central London, in numbers terms, there is a trend towards refurbishment applications over new-builds. New applications for schemes in the pipeline such as 1 Undershaft could skew this trend back towards new builds again. Demand from London office tenants continues to underpin developer plans for the next wave of building.

Financial Sector and the London Office Market

The recent signing of a large pre-let of 123,000 sq ft of new London HQ offices by ICAP at 135 Bishopsgate, London, EC2 and large mid-size lettings to nearby to FIS Global and Peel Hunt, has underlined the contribution of the financial sector to London’s office market. Metropolis looks at the importance of the financial sector to office transactions and relocation moves in London.

In 2018, the financial sector made a huge 1.8m sq ft contribution to the 12m sq ft of office space let in central core area of London. Metropolis ran near 120 leads on financial sector firms finding medium or large premises during the year. There are thought to be over 3m sq ft of requirements in the London market, with Metropolis tracking 150 live requirements in London for 2019 and beyond, mainly driven by lease events, mergers and consolidation. Analysis of recent data suggests that financial sector office tenants are responsible for a quarter of London office deals so far in 2019.

JLL point to recent deals including 120,000 sq ft Grade A at 55 Gresham Street, EC2 let to Investec Asset Management. ICAP also taking acquiring 34,000 sq ft in Verde, SW1, consolidating from three West End offices, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation taking 161,000 sq ft pre-let at 100 Liverpool Street, EC2.

In the West End large recent Mayfair transactions include KKR pre-letting 57,000 sq ft at 18-19 Hanover Square, W1 and 21,000 sq ft over four floors to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management at 5 Savile Row, W1. The King’s Cross Central development has attracted XTX Markets. There are up to 100 asset managers, private equity specialists and hedge fund managers in various stages of searches and potential requirements in the west end. Recent research suggests that London requirements will increase over the second quarter of 2019, with a number of prominent financial occupiers launching searches in advance of upcoming lease expiries.

Looking ahead, there are 300 London based media companies approaching lease expiries in the next two years. Future large identified requirements include: EBRD (Just signed in Canary Wharf), Bank of New York Mellon and The Northern Trust, together with expansion driven requirements from Brewin Dolphin and Smith & Williamson.

For further analysis and details contact Paul Ives at Metropolis

Media Sector and the London Office Market

The recent signing of a large pre-let of 124,000 sq ft of new London HQ offices by Sony at 4 Handyside Street, Kings Cross has brought renewed focus onto the contribution of the media sector to London’s office market. Metropolis looks at the importance of the media sector to office transactions and relocation moves in London.

In 2018, the technology and media sector once again dominated the London’s leasing profile, accounting for 27% of take-up across central London at around 3m sq ft and signing two of the year’s three largest deals. This is the third consecutive year that the sector has finished the year in the top spot. In many respects, the media and tech sector has been the standard bearer for London’s continued global magnetism

Kings Cross has become a popular destination for the creative and media sector with recent moves agreed with Universal and PRS for Music. In addition, Google and Facebook, which straddle the line between media and technology companies, also chose Kings Cross as their London HQ destinations.

Other large media sector moves announced recently, have included WPP agreeing to centralise HQ functions at 1 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 and McCann Worldgroup pre-letting nearly 150,000 sq ft at the under construction 135 Bishopsgate, EC2.

Metropolis has also recently run large London moves planned by Publicis, Datamonitor, Ree, Macmillan Publishers and Trade Desk.

Media occupiers have been active across all sub-markets, but they have been particularly dominant in the West End, accounting for over 30% of all activity in 2018. In Midtown, Herbal House, EC1 and The Farmiloe, EC1 attracted a variety of media and creative tenants. Research by Colliers shows that media sector tenants negotiate the shortest lease lengths and therefore the sector is the most likely to be looking for its next move.

Looking ahead, there are 220 London based media companies approaching lease expiries in the next two years. Metropolis is tracking over 130 which have expressed an interest in a move. Future large identified requirements include: 20th Century Fox (80,000 – 100,000 sq ft) and The Telegraph Media Group (70,000 – 80,000 sq ft).

For further analysis and details contact Paul Ives at Metropolis

Metropolis Movers October 2018

Metropolis ran 616 business leads on ‘office movers’ in October 2018. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 14 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market-led intelligence research team, last month.

London was the largest region with 300 business leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the North West (61), South East (52) and Yorkshire (52). Financial services, IT and business services were the largest business sectors planning relocations or agreeing moves during the month.

The relocation leads geographically 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 616 October leads, included those on occupiers Shell UK, IBM, WPP,Jane Street Capital and McCann Worldgroup .

The October 2018 leads included 161 ‘identified requirements’, including 100 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 175 searches, 109 were newly posted office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 176 ‘potential movers,’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a future 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 2021.

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 Andy or Paul at andy@metroinfo.co.uk or paul@metroinfo.co.uk, mentioning ‘Metropolis Blog’

London Office Market Analysis

Estates Gazette has just published in analysis of the London office market in 2017. The main conclusions include:

 

  • Total central London office take up was 12.6m sq ft (all deals) which was up around 2m sq ft on the 2016 total in a relatively strong year and just above the five year average;

 

  • The City core saw just under 3.6m sq ft of deals in 2017, together with 1.8m sq ft in the City fringe. Both figures are down on previous years;

 

  • Lettings in the Midtown, West End and Southbank areas were strongly up by over 40% last year;

 

  • Lettings of Grade A space were up strongly at 52% of all lettings in 2017, compared to 42% in 2016;

 

  • Overall, TMT was the most active sector in 2017 as a whole, accounting for more than 27% of all lettings. The five biggest deals in the quarter were from the TMT, Central and Local Government, Property, and Financial sectors. A proportion of small and medium sized occupiers are being absorbed by serviced office space;

 

  • Some 3.7m sq ft of new office space was started in 2017, but this compares with an average of over 5m sq ft of starts in 2015 and 2016. This means there are lots of speculative completions coming through, which in turn in driving higher take-up;

 

  • Around 8.3m sq ft of new London office completions are planned for 2018 (a ten year high), with over 6.3m sq ft of completions already planned for 2019;

 

  • Overall London office availability has risen from 4.3% in 2015 to 7.4% in late 2017, driven by a rise in secondhand space that now stands at 12.4m sq ft;

 

  • As a result rents overall are edging down, which could encourage more occupiers to relocate;

 

  • 2018 take-up in central London is likely to be driven by new build deals;

 

Metropolis forecasts that the rising volume and proportion of new build letting transactions will sustain the fit-out and office equipment supply markets in 2018-19.

Cityoffices.net forecasts a strong pipeline of new schemes (there are over 200 in the pipeline of 20,000 sq ft or more) seeing construction starts in 2018.

London Skyline Report Autumn 2014

Recent research by Cityoffices and Metropolis found that the central London office development market has stepped up another gear over summer 2014, with a further 32 office schemes starting (or poised ready to start in Q4 2014) since March 2014. Contrary to reports of a moribund construction sector, a healthy total of nearly 3.5m sq ft office space went under construction over the last 6 months. Notable recent scheme starts included: London Wall Place, EC2 (500,000 sq ft); Angel Tower, EC2 (360,000 sq ft) , River Plate House, EC2 (160,000 sq ft); 25 Chancery Lane (100,000 sq ft); St James’s Market, SW1 (212,000 sq ft) and 48 Leicester Square, WC2 (92,000 sq ft).

We expect nearly 15 further schemes to go under construction in the last quarter of the year. There is ‘only’ 8.7m sq ft of offices currently under construction (or about to start) following completion of  over 4m sq ft in the previous two quarters, including nearly 2m sq ft in three buildings 20 Fenchurch Street, Leadenhall Building and 25 Churchill Place. This is below the 10m sq ft long term average of London space under construction, but does not take account of a further 5m sq ft currently at demolition stage. Some 25 schemes such as 100 Bishopsgate, 52 Lime Street and Principal Place are on the verge of starting and even The Pinnacle may join them. Looking ahead to 2015, there are currently only 31 schemes due for completion, delivering 2.8m sq ft, although this figure will rise slightly as a number of refurbishments will join the list. However in relative terms, there is a shortage of large speculative office schemes scheduled to open next year, to add to the 7m sq ft of completions in 2014. In 2016 a further 7-8 million is forecast for completion, with half of that already underway.londond

Around 36% of office space under construction is already pre-let including recently-signed agreements with companies such as Amazon, KPMG and Estee Lauder. There is also a further raft of deals likely to be agreed in the near future which may include Societe Generale, Telefonica and Howden. Many schemes tend to find pre-lets closer to completion with over 50% of space completed during summer 2014 now pre-let. In contrast to some previous surveys, new-builds now make up the majority of new starts with 55% of the total compared to 45% refurbishments.

However, with nearly 3m sq ft of deals under offer and many of the larger central London occupiers beginning to appoint agents to advise on pre-let opportunities the expectation is that a new wave of refurbishments is just around the corner. In conclusion, although a large amount of central London office space was completed over summer 2014 and although some recent press reports have chosen to spotlight the drop in space actually under construction, writers have failed to note that it is about to be  replaced by almost as many schemes, if not the same volume of sq ft. In addition a large number of schemes are primed to start in 2015. The letting market continues to power on apace, exemplified by the recent pre-letting of the 400,000 sq ft Principal Place by Amazon and the rapid pre-letting of London Wall Place, EC2. Although 2015 looks likely to be a quiet year for completions, it will be balanced by up to 8m sq ft of completions in 2016.