Leading the Market – Metropolis Movers

In a short departure from our normal focus on the UK office market, this week Metropolis Blog looks at the Metropolis Movers Leads Service.

Metropolis has become the biggest and best office relocation leads service through its focus on market intelligence lead research.

Unlike other lead providers Metropolis concentrates on non-published, tenant activity led research.

This means utilising hundreds of business sector reports, tapping into industry contacts, drilling deep into property sources and making full use of social media.

The experienced Metropolis team has years of experience of talking to office occupiers and is skilled at uncovering advance information of agency instructions, fit-out tendering, removal, furniture and IT contract opportunities.

Leads are written with an understanding of client needs with clear indications of size, timescale and triggers. In addition, all leads give clients multiple channels to contact the occupier, such as phone, email or Linkedin.

The weekly output of over 130 carefully researched leads is backed by a steady stream of blogs, statistics and reports on trends in the market.

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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.

 

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).

How many companies move at lease expiry?

According to new research by CBRE, the majority of companies choose to remain in their existing premises at lease expiry,

The survey analysed 500 companies in the UK and Netherlands to analyse occupier behaviour when ‘stay or go’ property decisions are being evaluated. Of those companies contacted, just 12% moved the last time their lease expired and of those who had moved premises nearly two-thirds had changed their footprint, with 50% expanding.

A large proportion of companies cited the relationship with the building management company as a significant factor in the decision on whether to stay or go.

Research by Metropolis has shown that companies in London are far more ready to relocate on lease expiry, with current trends indicating close to 60% launching searches within two years of lease expiry and 40% actually moving. In London the raising of rents or redevelopment are often the triggers for a move. In the rest of the UK there is less enthusiasm for relocation, with around 20% relocating at lease expiry.

In an age when office leases are shorter and shorter, with more and more break options, it is clear that landlords and managing agents need to be on top of their game to prevent occupiers from choosing to move out of their properties.