Patchy Leeds Demand

Demand for office space in Leeds for the first half of 2017 remains similar to the 12 months that preceded it, but trailed the five year average by 18 per cent, according to new research.

The CBRE Leeds office marketview report found that office take-up in the city was 237,165 sq ft in the first six months of 2017.

There were three lettings over 20,000 sq ft; a 46,058 sq ft letting to Burberry at 6 Queen Street, 25,968 sq ft to Willis Towers Watson at 5 Wellington Place and 22,441 sq ft to BW Legal at 1 Apex View.

The majority of take-up in the city was in the sub 5,000 sq ft size band.

Despite the lower level of enquiries in all size ranges, annual take-up is still likely to be a record for Leeds city centre if the pre-let of 350,000 – 380,000 sq ft at Wellington Place to the Government Property Unit goes ahead.

Looking to the second half of the year, demand is expected to be patchy for at least another quarter.

Metropolis has run nearly 40 new requirements for Leeds office space this year, however most searches are small.

3 Wellington Place (109,000 sq ft) is the only new development completing within the next 12 months. Refurbishments available this year, include ‘Platform’ (120,000 sq ft) and 7 Park Row (40,000 sq ft),
which will help the dwindling Grade A market.

Manchester’s Top Future Relocations

Lambert Smith Hampton has just released its Manchester office market report for Q2 2017. City centre office take-up for reached 284,497 sq ft across 68 transactions, a 23.3% increase on the same quarter in 2016. The cumulative 492,730 sq ft for the first half of 2017 is an increase of 14.6% on 2016.

The latest big relocations, movers and inward investments included: co-working giant We Work taking 55,802 sq ft offices at No.1 Spinningfields. Weightmans took 17,949 sq ft at the same building. EY is taking 40,000 sq ft at 2 St Peters Square; Car Finance 247 is relocating to 40,000 sq ft at Universal Building, Devonshire Street North; Distrelec is taking 17,000 sq ft at 2 St Peter’s Square, while Vodafone signed for 33,000 sq ft at Atlantic House.  Lookers acquired the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham,  21,200 sq ft was let at Regent Place, Salford to Convergys and Kaplan Financial also agreed a 10,000 sq ft move. Deals under 3,000 sq ft still accounted for 40% of take up

LSH secured the largest office deal this year outside of the city centre by acquiring 47,149 sq ft at 106 Dalton Avenue at Patrizia UK’s Birchwood Park, Warrington for Cavendish Nuclear. Business Services, consumer services and leisure and banking and finance have been the strongest sectors for take-up in the first half of the year. These three sectors accounted for 34%, 20% and 18% of take-up respectively

Metropolis is monitoring around 50 current office requirements in Manchester and around 60 ‘potential movers’, that is companies approaching lease expiries or with expansion plans, which have not decided whether to move yet.

Looking ahead, Manchester is expected to see faster office based employment growth over the next five years than Greater London and all of the major UK regional cities. Office based employment is
expected to grow by 6% over the next five years, significantly above the UK average of 3.5%.

London Movers Uncovered

Cushman & Wakefield has recently published its ‘Movers & Shakers’ report on London office movers in 2016. Metropolis sets the report’s findings in the context of the most recent 140 new, named, London office requirements researched and published on its database over the last three months in 2017.

C&W’s report looks at 249 transactions over 10,000 sq ft in 2016, which accounted for over 75% of all leasing volumes in Central London. These deals totalled 8.1m sq ft and included 160 deals for properties located in the City & East London and the remaining 89 in the West End or West End fringe.

Companies already located in London moved from a total 5.1 million sq ft, taking 8.1 million sq ft, which equated to a net take up of 3 million sq ft or 37% growth. This contrasts with 2015, when companies expanded by 3.2 million sq ft, but overall London take-up was 1 million sq ft higher.

Expansion was evident across all business sectors. The tech sector saw the greatest expansion in 2016, registering 875,000 sq ft of growth. While banking & financial services expanded by 675,000 sq ft. Retail, media, legal and professional also all had a solid year.

Tech companies increased their footprint three-fold in 2016. Apple’s pre-let of nearly 500,000 sq ft of space at Battersea Power Station was backed by deals to Palantir, Adobe, Deliveroo Facebook, Google and Amazon.

The average actual distance moved during 2016 was just over 1.1 miles, which is down on the distances seen in 2014 and 2015.

Aldgate and Whitechapel recorded positive migration, with the area seeing a large increase in in-movers, including 10 moving in. The refurbishment of the White Chapel building and redevelopment of Aldgate Tower were drivers. Elsewhere in the City fringe, the redevelopment of the White Collar Factory and the Bower have continued to attract companies.

Mayfair and St James’s has continually had more out-movers than in-movers, whilst Aldgate and Whitechapel and Canary Wharf and Docklands have consistently had more in-movers than out-movers on balance.

Cushman & Wakefield estimates that companies new to Central London in 2016 accounted for 4% of total transactions by number or 417,859 sq ft and included significant migration from companies such as Salesforce, Amazon and Tableau Software moving into the capital.

Moving onto 2017, 140 companies in central London have confirmed to Metropolis the launching of new office requirements over the last three months. These include 51 from the City, 6 from Docklands, 7 from Southbank, 40 from the West End core, 12 from midtown and remainder from fringe locations.

Again, new requirements saw finance and tech sectors leading the way with more than 20 new requirements each, followed by media, business services and representative bodies.

Some of the largest examples include Hyperion and Deutsche Bank in the City, Misys and American Express in the West End. If all new requirements are combined, then an extra 2.5 million sq ft of new London office requirements were added to the Metropolis database in the February to May 2017 period.

In the new batch of London requirements researched by Metropolis, 60% of the companies searching are looking for more space than currently occupied, suggesting that the net expansion of office space recorded by C&W in 2016 is likely to continue in 2017.

Metropolis April Round-Up

Metropolis ran 600 ‘movers’ in the month of April 2017. If all moves were added together the total would exceed 16 million sq ft of office transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence team. London was the largest region with 286 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire. Financial services and professional were the two largest business sectors planning relocations.

The business leads covered the whole UK and provided details of the size of the office occupier, its 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 amongst the 600 leads included leads on Sungard, Amazon, Royal Bank of Canada and HMRC.

The April 2017 leads included 175 ‘identified requirements’. 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, 121 were new office searches, not previously notified.

The most recent research also included 184 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers which are considering a relocation, but have yet to make a final decision on whether to search.

Most of the remaining stories covered companies that have 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 mid 2020.

If you would like some information on flexible Metropolis subscription packages, then please email Simon at simon@metroinfo.co.uk

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Cityoffices.net, the sister property leads service to Metropolis, saw a further 25 stories posted in April covering new development opportunities planning applications, consents, construction starts and development teams. The database now covers over 200 office schemes in the pipeline for construction starts in 2017-2020.

For more information on Cityoffices, email Andy 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).

Best Year Yet!

Metropolis broke its own lead number record in 2016, with an exceptional 7120 business leads published between 1st January 2016 and the 31st December 2016.

  • There were nearly 4,900 (69%) new stories on planned moves or projects by companies, not previously run in 2015 or before;
  • The new moves and projects reported in 2016 reached a staggering 135m sq ft, if all were added together;
  • This total includes 1,400 newly identified requirements (nearly 30 each week), as researchers uncovered previously unpublished searches for 22.7m sq ft of office space in 2016;
  • Metropolis identified a further newly researched 1500 companies, occupying 35m sq ft, which are approaching property decisions, potential movers, in 2017 and 2018;
  • A further 1,800 newly researched companies confirmed space had been found and a move date set ranging from 5 weeks to two years away;
  • In addition, a further 2,220 companies updated Metropolis that either a potential search had moved to an active one, or an active search had resulted in a property found and move was being planned.

Overall the regions with most reported office movers and projects were:

London – 3200 (45%)
South East – 831 (12%)
North West – 565 (8%)
Yorkshire – 444 (6%)
Scotland – 438 (6%)

Overall the sectors with the most reported office movers and projects were:

Financial – 712 (10%)
Professional (law, consultant, accountant) – 680 (10%)
Media 664 (9%)
Business Services – 569 (8%)
IT-related – 500 (7%)

In terms of timescale, move dates for relocations completed and future were:

2016 moves now completed – 2,500 (35%)
2017 moves planned – 3,287 (46%)
2018 or later moves planned -1,333 (19%)

NB – All statistics refer to business leads run in 2016 and there remains a considerable number of additional projected moves on the database from 2015 and before, where no significant update was possible in 2016.

Leeds market focus

The latest Colliers International report on the Leeds office market revealed a quiet summer 2016 with only 73,100 sq ft of transactions across 25 deals. Some of the larger deals included Plexus Law taking 14,500 sq ft at Joseph’s Well, Slater & Gordon taking 10,000 sq ft at 2 City West, NHS Property taking 10,000 sq ft in Horsforth and Addleshaw Goddard nearly 8,000 sq ft at 3 Sovereign Square.

Total first half take-up in 2016 reached nearly 200,000 sq ft helped by Sky Bet taking 39,600 sq ft at 6 Wellington Place, RSM pre-let 25,000 sq ft at Central Square and Dentsu Aegis secured 13,800 sq ft at the newly refurbished 6 East Parade.

Local agents predict that the Leeds office market will remain slow due to occupier uncertainty and limited upcoming lease events, although there remain a number of active enquiries within the marketplace.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 companies looking for office space in the Leeds area, including HMRC Hub, Willis Towers Watson and Dart Group/Jet2 and some substantial requirements in the professional services sector. In addition, there are around 40 companies approaching lease expiries in 2017 where decisions are yet to be made, including a number of software groups. Further ahead, over half a million sq ft of lease events are scheduled in the next few years

New schemes launched in Leeds earlier this year include 6 Wellington Place, 6 East Parade and 120 Wellington Street. A further 500,000 sq ft has just been completed including 69,000 sq ft at 6 Queen Street, 75,000 sq ft at 5 Wellington Place and 200,000 sq ft at Central Square. Speculative schemes at Kirkstall Forge and Thorpe Park are set to boost grade A availability in the future.