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.

Thames Valley sees take-up rise

A recent report from consultant Lambert Smith Hampton on the Thames Valley office market reported an impressive Q2 2015, with take-up increasing by 157%.

Total take-up of offices (over 5,000 sq ft) in Q2 2015 was 540,411 sq ft, compared with 210,348 sq ft in the same period in 2014. Total take-up in 2015 so far is 896,419 sq ft, compared with just 506,787 sq ft at the end of Q2 2014 – an increase of 77% year on year. LSH also report that 400,000 sq ft of further deals are under offer.

Some of the larger recent deals, all reported on Metropolis, include: Gartner taking 107,000 sq ft at Tamesis, Staines; Maersk Shipping taking 41,000 sq ft at The Point, Maidenhead; Hitachi Data Systems taking 35,817 sq ft at Capitol, Bracknell; South Oxfordshire District Council taking 33,250 sq ft at 135 Milton Park, Abingdon; Markerstudy taking 20,966 sq ft at Waterside House, Uxbridge; Aetna taking 20,128 sq ft at 25 Templer Avenue, Farnborough Business Park.

LSH recorded 5,000 new office inquiries during Q2 2015 which is slightly down on a year ago. New requirements on Metropolis include Biogen, Thales, Bayer, Osram and Worley Parsons. Named demand has increased significantly in the last two years and is currently estimated to stand at approximately 6.5m sq ft. There is a growing trend of tenants decentralising from central London locations to the Thames Valley and Heathrow areas. It has also been noted that occupiers are increasingly looking for different space in the Thames Valley with a more basic office environment with flexible floorplates becoming popular.

Top towns forecast for 2014

Property consultant Lambert Smith Hampton has ranked 65 of the largest towns and cities outside London based on their economic vitality and the likelihood of an active property market in 2014

The top 10 towns and cities in the UK Vitality Index are:

Cambridge
Guildford
Brighton
St Albans
Reading
Wokingham
Maidenhead
Warwick
Milton Keynes
Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Reigate (joint)

Research by Metropolis particularly underscores the prospects for Cambridge (41 moves or requirements due in 2014); Reading (52) and Edinburgh (150).