Metropolis Leads in July 2018

Metropolis ran 592 business leads on ‘office movers’ in July 2018. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 16 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 270 business leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (71),  Scotland (69) North West (38) and Yorkshire (36). Financial services 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 592 July leads, included those on occupiers Facebook, Linklaters, Barclays, EBRD and Diageo.

The July 2018 leads included 172 ‘identified requirements’, including 90 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 172 searches, 105 were newly posted office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 142 ‘potential movers,’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a 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.

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Regional Office Boost

CBRE’s recent report ‘United Kingdom Office – The Property Perspective H1 2018’ concludes that office mover activity in the regions outside London continued to be ‘lively’ during the first half of 2018

CBRE say that regional office occupier markets in the first half of 2018 with few signs of Brexit-related uncertainty. The ten regional cities monitored by CBRE, saw take-up reach nearly 3.9m sq ft, which was 24% above the five-year average and 37% higher than the 2.8m sq ft newly occupied in the same period of 2017.

CBRE saw large numbers of requirement in regional cities and say that relocation activity could have been even higher if there had not been a shortage of new office space in some cities. CBRE particularly point to shortages in Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow where the development pipeline has not kept pace with demand. These shortages will drive further pre-let and refurbishment activity.

Metropolis echoes the CBRE findings, with nearly 400 regional office requirement leads flagged to subscribers in the first half of 2018, together with a similar number of companies finding space for moves between January and June.

CBRE say that The UK’s flexible office space operators continued to expand, with Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, and the wider South East the stand out expansion locations in H1. Bristol witnessed a
notable increase in demand with a key deal to Runway East (30,000 sq ft). In Birmingham, deals were concluded with BE Group, Instant, iHub, Regus and Orega, whilst in Glasgow there were prominent deals to
Orega and Regus. In the wider South East region, flexible office space providers took nearly 200,000 sq ft with Slough and Reading the most popular locations. Runway East and other operators also have live requirements in all the regional cities, with CBRE predicting more activity from this sector in H2.

Regional cities saw a record year of take-up in 2017, with the public sector playing a large role in regional office space demand in H1 2018 (just over 0.9m sq ft). HM Revenue & Customs accounted for the three largest transactions ranging between 157,000 – 270,000 sq ft in Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

CBRE forecast the West Midlands as a region to watch. They say the West Midlands is experiencing some of the fastest growth in the country – Birmingham itself seeing prices rise by 6.9% in the year to May Birmingham is attracting public sector bodies, looking for more affordable solutions away from London. The latest requirement is from the General Dental Council, relocating 200 staff London.

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

Edinburgh’s Strong 2nd Quarter

Recent research by CBRE Scotland has pointed to a strong second quarter for Edinburgh’s office market, after a slow start to the year. Figures show a Q2 take-up of 351,916 sq ft of take-up – a 150% increase in take-up from Q1 2018, bringing office take-up in the first half of 2018 in Edinburgh to just under half a million sq ft (491,885 sq ft).

The recently announced pre-let to asset management firm Baillie Gifford taking over 60,000 sq ft at the newly developed Mint Building in St Andrew Square was possibly the stand out deal of the quarter, followed by other large lettings including 43,801 sq ft at 11-12 Lochside Place to Diageo and 14,832 sq ft at Atria One to EDP Renewables. The largest deal of the quarter was Edinburgh Palette (a workspace facility) occupying 109,153 sq ft of space at 525 Ferry Road, albeit on a short-term lease.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 occupiers searching for office space in Edinburgh. In general, tenant demand is considered to be buoyant, with a number of existing occupiers approaching lease expiries and seeking to relocate.

Meanwhile in the mid size range: The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) took 16,568 sq ft of out of town space at Bridgeside House, a Smart development at MacDonald Road, while Instant Offices, the serviced office provider, took 2,230 sq m (24,000 sq ft) of offices at the Cornerstone Building in South Gyle.

Total Edinburgh office supply remains at a low level at 923,540 sq ft, with 225,231 sq ft for city centre Grade A space. This represents a 30% decrease on the available space from the same period in 2017. The next scheme to complete is 2 Semple Street in Edinburgh city centre, which is due to be ready for occupation at the end of July 2018,  providing 38,648 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation across six floors.

CBRE say that there continues to be a number of larger, unsatisfied requirements for Edinburgh city centre.

London Office Lettings in May 2018

Central London office lettings in May 2018 reached over 1.3m sq ft from 45 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The May 2018 figure is 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 the Chinesse Embassy’s deal to take Royal Mint in EC3; The Office Group’s 83,000 sq ft letting at One Canada Square, E14 and Epiris Advisers’ 59,000 sq ft at The Forum in Gutter Lane, EC2.

Public Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by Chinese Embassy deal. This was followed by business services led by a number of lettings by serviced office operators. Financial services, technology and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.4m 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 70pc of the office floorspace let in April 2018 at 912,,000 sq ft. The West End saw 209,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 57,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 83,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.2m sq ft in the City and 2.6m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 1m sq ft sq ft (77% 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 640 ‘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 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 the report and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Metropolis Law Sector Report 2018

Initial findings from the 2018 Metropolis report on office relocation in the UK Law sector revealed that 360 legal sector firms were involved in office property decisions in the year to end 2018.

The survey also found that over 7m sq ft of office space was transacted or required by occupiers searching for alternative space over the last year by law sector firms.

The report found over 120 firms searching for space that were interviewed by Metropolis researchers. Over a half of requirements were prompted by upcoming lease expiries, backed by expansions, mergers and restructuring.

The biggest law sector office deals in London involved leases signed for HQ relocations by Freshfields, DLA Piper, Sidley Austin and Minster Law.

Outside of London, Clyde & Co had the biggest office transaction, with a deal to occupy 69,000 sq ft in the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Simmons & Simmons signed a 12-year lease to occupy the top two floors (27,000 sq ft) of the Aurora building in Finzels Reach, Bristol, from January. Hogan Lovells will take over the eighth floor (23,388 sq ft) of The Colmore Building in Birmingham’s business district, where it currently occupies 7,620 sq ft on the tenth floor.

Leeds will house a relocation by Walker Morris, which announced that its 500 staff, who are currently split across two buildings in King Street, will relocate to a flagship office in 33 Wellington Street next summer. The building, in the city’s business district, is currently undergoing a comprehensive £10m refurbishment.

In a sign of things to come, Knight Frank points out that magic circle firm Allen & Overy has developed its Fuse incubator in its London headquarters while Mishcon De Reya has created MDR Lab – its programme for tech start-ups in the legal sphere – in its London office.

Pre-lets on the rise

JLL’s recent London office report reveals that London office take-up reached 2.4 million sq ft in Q1 (Metropolis registered 3m sq ft), lower than the quarterly average but ahead of both the equivalent period in 2017 and the 10 year average for the first quarter.

JLL say that The West End was the strongest performing market, with take-up reaching 932,000 sq ft, the strongest Q1 for three years. City leasing volumes were robust at 1.3 million sq ft, marginally ahead of the equivalent period in 2017.

Pre-letting was a major feature of the market, accounting for nearly a third of quarterly take-up. JLL say that this will remain a feature of the market throughout the year with 45% of the 3.5 million sq ft currently under offer.

Metropolis saw around 40% of office space let being accounted for by pre-lets in the first months of 2018.

Across central London development completions have continued to be quickly absorbed, with 70% of quarterly completions pre-leased or let shortly after completion.

In The City, banking and finance sectors were most active with a 28% share of take-up, buoyed by the largest transaction of the quarter, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe’s pre-let of 161,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street, EC2. The service industries and professional services sectors were also prominent, accounting for 27% and 25% of quarterly take-up respectively, including major transactions to Sidley Austin LLP, Charles Taylor and Prudential.

In the West End, The TMT and services sectors had the largest share of quarterly take-up with 33% and 25% respectively. Within the services sector, the majority of take-up (63%) involved flexible office providers indicating that this sector is continuing to expand.

To conclude, JLL say that business sentiment remains robust and employment continues to rise strongly