Banking and the Office Market

CBRE has just published its report: “Why We Can Bank on London 2018” which looks at subsectors within London’s financial services ‘ecosystem’: investment and retail banks, fintech firms, traditional asset managers and private equity firms and hedge funds. The intentions of occupiers in these sectors make up a large part of the Metropolis weekly office leads output.

The financial sector accounted for 27% of active space requirements by sq ft in autumn 2018

CBRE say Since the EU referendum, banks have continued to commit to London with Deutsche Bank taking 550,000 sq ft and SMBC taking 161,000 sq ft, while Wells Fargo took 220,000 sq ft for its new European
headquarters. However, banks have also been ‘nearshoring’ (moving staff to regional hubs in the UK) with Bank of America, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank all announcing plans in late 2012 to move 3,000 jobs away from London.

The UK has been ranked first globally for the strongest fintech sector since 2016. It’s largest companies include Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer financing platform for companies and mobile banking service Revolut is achieving ‘unicorn’ status in April 2018 on reaching a valuation of $1.7bn (both companies’ intentions recently featured on Metropolis).  Fast growing Nutmeg is the first firm to offer an online discretionary investment management service in the UK. Fintech firms are dispersed but have tended to cluster in areas such as Canary Wharf and the City, where initiatives such as Level39 provide provide space. The typical lifecycle of a fintech firm begins in low-cost flexible space, usually in fringe locations. Typically, the firm then moves to a larger and more corporate space as it matures. Metropolis has run nearly 40 leads on fintech companies recently.

Private equity and hedge funds. London is the second largest centre globally for hedge fund managers  Over the past 10 years, firms other than banks or traditional asset managers have accounted for 61% of the sector’s total take-up of 27m sq ft in Central London. There are currently over 200,000 sq ft of office requirements live in this sector in central London. Metropolis has brought subscribers over 30 stories about hedge fund companies office move intentions in recent months.

CBRE conclude by forecasting the rise of agile working becoming more widely adopted in the banking sector, increasingly shifting towards more open plan offices and policies such as working from home. Firms are also increasingly considering an area’s wealth of amenities and transport links. For private equity firms in particular this could become a growing trend as they move away from prestige locations such as Knightsbridge and Mayfair to better connected locations.

Metropolis has run over 500 leads on London-based financial sector occupiers relocation intentions in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all Metropolis blog readers.

Paul Ives, Metropolis Head of Research. December 2018

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The Evolution of Office Space

A recent blog from property consultant Savills, looked at the trends for the future of office space and some of the implications for market players. Savills say that the sector has progressed beyond putting a roof over workers’ heads, instead landlords and service providers need to be tuned to meet the needs of modern occupiers in order to attract businesses in an increasingly competitive landscape.

The relationships between landlords, tenants and staff has shifted. Building owners can no longer rely on the fact that they have four walls and a plug socket; but instead have to offer a best-in-class service if they want to entice occupiers to let their space. In turn businesses must provide their employees with a stand-out working environment if they want to both attract and retain the best staff.

So what are the emerging trends

Savills’ last What Workers Want survey showed that the workplace can have a significant impact on employees’ physical and mental health. Some of the measures that have caught the headlines have included running tracks on roofs, yoga studios and health-conscious canteens, but this is just the start. Savills predict more on-site GPs, crèche facilities and lockers for online retail deliveries to maximise employees time and productivity.

As well as the emphasis on wellness, there is also a need for greater sustainability and the impact that space might have on the wider environment. For this reason recycling, waste and energy consumption has never been so important. Metropolis finds increasing numbers of occupiers require office space with high levels of BREEAM standards as well as flexibility.

Metropolis has seen a high level of short leases negotiated in recent years alongside a trend for a floor by floor expansion by occupiers within an existing part-occupied building. In addition, refurbishment tenders incorperate a high level of IT utilisation and are now increasingly including flexibility to provide step free access.

Savills say that ultimately, landlords need to take the lead from the serviced office sector which is constantly adapting to create fresh ways of working to meet occupiers’ changing needs.

 

Central London office lettings in October 2018

Central London office lettings in October 2018 reached just over 1.3m sq ft from 55 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The October 2018 figure exceeds the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

October was characterised by 19 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the McCann World Group’s 135,000 sq ft pre-let at 135 Bishopsgate, EC2 along with TP ICAP; BGC Partners signed for 129,000 sq ft at 5 Churchill Place, E14; Axa IM took a 65,000 sq ft pre-let at 22 Bishopsgate, EC3 and DAC Beachcroft took 50,000 sq ft at Walbrook Building, EC4.

Financial services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the TP ICAP and BGC Partners deals. This was followed by media led by lettings to McCann and TNS. Insurance, professional and business services were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London remained at 3.8m 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 58pc of the office floorspace let in October 2018 at 750,000 sq ft. The West End saw 140,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 100,000 sq ft of lettings and Docklands 130,000 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 month, reached a healthy 555,000 sq ft sq ft (43% 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 630 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.6m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is close to completing 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

Law Sector and the Office Market Update

Knight Frank, the property consultant, has just published an update on trends in the law sector over 2017-18 which impact on the UK office market. Some of the main points include:

Consolidator firms such as Gordon Dadds, Redkite Solicitors, Knights and Metamorph Law are acquiring smaller rivals to gain market share. Consolidation activity is driving occupier demand in certain markets as merged firms looked to consolidate into single offices;

Some mid-tier law firms are aggressively expanding, in particular those that have focussed on niche services. One such firm that is forging ahead is Weightmans which has invested £1.3million on new technology over the last year. Another leading mid-tier firm is Fieldfisher who recorded a second consecutive year of double-digit growth that included moving into a single site in London;

New market players are expanding in regional markets. These included Leeds-based Alpaca, who launched in 2017, and Rradar, who relocated to larger office space at the Bruntwood Platform building in Leeds having undergone rapid growth;

Meanwhile, Norton Rose Fulbright revealed plans to create 100 new jobs in its legal process hub in Newcastle, Simmons & Simmons taking larger offices in Bristol, Walker Morris will relocate to 33 Wellington Street, Leeds, Reed Smith opening in Leeds, Graysons moved into larger, more modern premises in Sheffield, Pinsent Masons consolidated their two offices into 141 Bothwell Street in Glasgow, while Hogan Lovells tripled its space in Birmingham;

Manchester recorded the highest legal services sector takeup by square footage across all the UK regional cities at 155,328 sq ft or 13% of total take-up last year. This was followed by Bristol where legal services accounted for 9.4% of total take-up

Knight Frank conclude that changing business structures will demand a resetting of the corporate footprint with most relocating to higher quality office space in core CBD locations.

Metropolis is tracking over 100 law firms with either identified requirements or potential requirements for relocation from October 2018 onwards.

 

Technology Companies and Offices

CBRE has recently published its ‘Tech Cities’ report looking at  office leasing patterns in the technology sector across Europe.

Conclusions include:

Technology companies still dominate tech activity across Europe in real estate terms – 65% of all deals tracked fall under software, IT services, telecom or hardware;

The e-commerce sub-sector accounts for the largest average deal size of leasing transactions, which reflects the aggressive growth of the sector across industries. Berlin for instance has attracted larger
e-commerce floorplates than anywhere else in Europe along with London, Dublin and Amsterdam;

While new tech companies make up a smaller proportion of total deals than traditional sub-sectors, they are just as space-hungry as the more traditional companies in terms of average deal size. This reflects differences in growth speeds of companies within each of these two categories in the global marketplace, with the new tech sector seeing particularly rapid growth;

Depending on the tech sub-sector and business strategy, occupiers will be able to agglomerate with peers within the same sub-sector, or identify a different sub-sector that offer benefits of a close location, with London, Reading, Bristol and Cambridge as examples;

London is CBRE’s top-ranking technology cluster. The city is a magnet for young technology talent, and employment in the tech sector has grown by 20% since 2008. Major employers in the IT services sub-sector include Capgemini & Cognizant; the largest employers in the software sub-sector include Microsoft and Oracle and in telecoms the city is home to major operations for BT & Vodafone. Other top employers of tech talent in London include Accenture, IBM, and Thomson Reuters;

The Thames Valley region is one of the most established technology clusters in Europe. The Thames Valley is dominated by very large organisations which make up more than 62% of employment. Telecoms, IT services and software are the dominant sub-sectors in the cluster with major employers being largely global tech companies including Vodafone, Huawei, Telefonica, Microsoft, Oracle and Hewlett Packard. Oracle, Cisco and Microsoft are major employers of development talent in the Thames Valley region with Visa and Sky also having large operations in the cluster;

Bristol is one of the major regional centres for tech outside of London and the Thames Valley with employment in the sector growing by 25% since 2008. Bristol is a major centre for the telecoms industry with EE, BT, Nokia, Orange and Vodafone all having a presence in the city. Other major employers of tech talent include Lloyds Banking, IBM and Hewlett Packard. Bristol is also home to IT service companies Softcat plc and Civica.

CBRE say that understanding underlying demand conditions using this framework helps inform potential future office transaction strategies.

Metropolis is currently tracking around 150 IT, technology and telecom companies searching for offices across the UK.

 

Central London office lettings in July 2018

Central London office lettings in July 2018 reached just over 1.4m sq ft from 41 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The July 2018 figure is comfortably above the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

July was characterised by 15 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Facebooks’s 600,000 sq ft deal to pre-let 11/21 Canal Reach and Building P2 Handyside Street, N1; WeWork’s 131,000 sq ft deal at Aviation House, WC2 and Houlihan Lokey’s 41,000 sq ft move to 1 Curzon Street, W1.

IT and technology services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the huge Facebook deal, plus a deal to Benevolent AI. This was followed by business services led by a number of lettings to WeWork and The Office Group. Financial services, professional and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.8m 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 7pc of the office floorspace let in July 2018 at 100,000 sq ft. The West End saw 276,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed a record breaking 950,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.6m 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 800,000 sq ft sq ft (57% 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 650 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.7m 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

Central London Office Lettings in June 2018

Central London office lettings in June 2018 reached just over 1m sq ft from 58 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The June 2018 figure is in line the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

June was characterised by 16 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Sony Picture’s 77,000 sq ft deal to take Brunel Building in Paddington; Trade Desk’s 54,000 sq ft pre-letting at Barts Square, EC1 and WeWork’s 49,000 sq ft at 70 Wilson Street, EC2.

Business Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by WeWork, Office Group and Foraspace deals. This was followed by professional services led by a number of lettings by sdeals to Herbert Smith and Kaplan. Financial services, technology and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.6m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a large number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 40pc of the office floorspace let in June 2018 at 400,,000 sq ft. The West End saw 349,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 126,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 50,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.3m sq ft in the City and 2.7m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 366,000 sq ft sq ft (37% 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 1.9m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is working on its current ‘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