M25 Office Market Predictions

Knight Frank has published its Q1 2018 report on the M25 office market.

The report looks at the polarisation of the market into small moves and lettings which is pushing landlords towards the subdivision of buildings into smaller units, alongside the expected emergence of 10-12 large 100,000 sq ft requirements in 2018, many of which will come from technology companies. Knight Frank predicts that many of these searches will end in pre-letting of planned office schemes.

Metropolis is currently tracking some 30 south-east occupiers looking for 25,000 sq ft or more, with a further 20 large companies around the M25, approaching lease events over the next two years. Overall, Metropolis has reported on over 500 office moves in the South East and outer London in the last year.

Knight Frank say the South East office market has a history of occupational demand from the technology sector. In fact, the tech sector has accounted for, on average, 23% of annual office take-up over the last five years and has absorbed some 3.8 million sq ft during that period.

Similarly, occupiers drawn from other sectors have been transformed by the application of new technology to business processes, often fuelling new property requirements.

There were around 60 office deals of over 5,000 sq ft in towns around the M25 in Q1 2018. In west London financial and business services firms account for the largest proportion of take-up over 10 years, 27%. This percentage rises to 29% if considered over the past two years. Most notable is that flexible office providers have quickly gained a strong presence, taking just short of 200,000 sq ft since the beginning of 2016.

Knight Frank conclude that the M25 linked hotspots for office deals over the next year are Brighton, Croydon, Watford and Reading.

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London Office Lettings in March 2018

Central London office lettings in March 2018 reached almost 1.02m sq ft of deals from 63 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The March 2018 figure is in line with the current monthly average of 1m sq ft and Q1 lettings reached just over 3m sq ft.

March was characterised by 11 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included CBRE’s 78,000 sq ft letting at 61 Southwark Street, SE1; Charles Taylor’s 66,000 sq ft pre-letting at 3 Minster Court, EC3 and SNC Lavelin/WS Atkins took 65,000 sq ft at Nova North, SW1.

Professional Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by CBRE and Paul Hastings deals. This was followed by insurance services mainly underpinned by Charles Taylor’s pre-let and another deal to Argo. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London remained at 3.5m sq ft, but pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with over 30 deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 40pc of the office floorspace let in March 2018 at 400,000 sq ft. The West End saw 290,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 93,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 84,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.1m sq ft in the City and 2.8m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 624,000 sq ft (62% 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 the report and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Bristol Office Demand

A recent report from Savills concluded that Bristol experienced a solid year for office market demand in 2017 with 611,000 sq ft of office space taken, 6% above the long term annual average. 57% of take up was signed for during the second half of 2017.

This was driven by Dyson taking 29,000 sq ft with University of Bristol’s letting 27,000 sq ft at 1 Cathedral Square.
The report identifies the recent Simmons & Simmons signing for 27,000 sq ft at Aurora, Finzels Reach as a key move. The 95,000 sq ft speculative Finzels Reach scheme is now 40% pre-let with competition for space intensifying among tenants for the remaining floors.

Bristol’s TMT (Technology, Media and Telecoms) sector took 134,000 sq ft of the office space taken last year, 22% of the city centre total. Savills highlight that 28 of the 30 deals were on floor sizes below 10,000 sq ft, indicating the depth of demand within the sector.

Take up in Bristol’s out of town market reached 425,000 sq ft, 34% above the 10 year average. This was largely driven by Babcock signing for 86,000 sq ft at 100 Bristol Business Park during the final quarter.

Office requirements remain robust in the Bristol market, and Savills expect take up to again reach circa 600,000 sq ft during 2018, 10% above the 10 year annual average.

Metropolis is tracking around 30 tenants with office requirements for Bristol, with a further 50 companies approaching decisions on whether to search.

Requirements on the Rise?

Over the first two months Metropolis Property Research has noticed a small rise in the numbers of office occupiers launching new searches for office accommodation.

Some examples researched and published over the past week include:

  • An IT support firm, has told Metropolis that it is currently searching for around 200 sq m (2,200 sq ft) of office space within the South Bank area of London. The firm is planning to move from its current base in the Autumn of 2018;
  • A City of London-based energy consultancy, has told Metropolis that it has appointed an un-named property agent to advise on relocation or lease options in central London, ahead of a late 2018 lease break option. The company currently occupies 465 sq m (5,010 sq ft) of offices with about 35 staff;
  • A computer consultancy firm, has told Metropolis that it is currently searching for around 475 sq m (5,100 sq ft) of office space in the Maidenhead area. Staff advise that a move date has not been set, but that it will likely take place around Autumn 2018.;
  • An energy exploration company, has strongly hinted that it is considering launching a search for alternative London West End offices in 2018;
  • An IT consultancy firm, has told Metropolis that it is currently searching for around 220 sq m (2,400 sq ft) of office space in Bristol. A senior contact has stated that an ideal move date would be around October or November 2018;
  • A Leeds headquartered print management company, is planning to open an office in London by 2020;

Metropolis researches around 140 new office requirements each month in the UK, plus hundred of other companies pondering move decisions and agreeing lettings.

4000 office moves for 2018-19

Metropolis has broken new records after 7,200 office business leads were published in 2017. If all the office space contained within those leads were added together the total would top 200 million sq ft.

Covering office deals agreed, companies searching for space, those with potential requirements and a small number of key speculative schemes, the 7,200 leads covered the whole UK from the tip of Cornwall to the north of Scotland. Office sizes ranged from 1,500 sq ft for 10 staff to Google’s new 800,000 sq ft London HQ.

Key points:

  • 2,700 company office moves confirmed to have completed in 2017;

 

  • 3,200 office moves are planned for 2018 and 890 office moves already planned in 2019 or later;

 

  • 3,000 companies, including 1,300 with ‘identified requirements’ expect to be making property decisions in 2018 and 2019;

 

IT and media services is the largest sector (800 leads) followed by financial services (600 leads) and professional, including large numbers of accountants and law firms (450 leads). Although the leads are spread over all UK regions, the size of the London office market, means that over 40% of the leads feature relocations, both scheduled and planned in central London. All leads include contact names, telephone numbers and 75% have email addresses, many of which are specific to the decision maker.

Metropolis remains the largest specialist provider of market intelligence led, office market business leads.

Recent research by Metropolis concluded that a conservative estimate of ‘live’ business opportunities on the database in recent months exceeded £1bn of business.

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

 

Office Moves Planned in July

Metropolis ran 580 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the month of July 2017. 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. London was the largest region with 247 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (63) and North West (62), Scotland (44). IT services and financial were the two largest business sectors planning relocations or agreeing moves during the month.

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 and top picks amongst the 580 July leads. included those on Citi (Citigroup), HMRC, Credit Agricole and WeWork.

The July 2017 leads included 200 ‘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 200 searches, 134 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 130 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, 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 late 2020.

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

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Cityoffices.net, the sister property leads service to Metropolis, saw a further 33 stories posted in July, covering new development opportunities planning applications, consents, construction starts and development teams in London and major cities. 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

Bristol Bounces Back

A recent report by Lambert Smith Hampton on the Bristol office market report, reveals that in the final quarter of 2016 transaction levels reaching almost double those of the previous quarter. Take-up reached 267,200 sq ft in Q4 2016, compared with 134,400 sq ft in Q3 2016. Strong demand has led to continued pressure on office supply in the city centre.

City centre take-up was boosted by HMRC’s pre-let of 107,000sq ft at Salmon Harvestor’s 3 Glass Wharf, which was the largest Bristol office deal of the year. Total take-up has exceeded the five year average. There were three deals for new office space in Q4 2016: Foot Anstey at 2 Glass Wharf, The West Wing Glass Wharf and JLL at 31 Great George Street.

The second-hand city centre office market has also seen increased levels of take-up with several deals of over 10,000 sq ft, including lettings at South Quay House, Redcliff Quay and the purchase of Victoria House for owner occupation. Companies recently signing for space in Bristol and reported by Metropolis included Regus, Unite and SmithCorp.

The out of town market saw annual take-up of 308,380 sq ft, including the letting of 100 Bristol Business Park to Babcock.. The other key letting of 30,430 sq ft was to Highway England at 930 Aztec West.

Construction of the 95,000 sq ft of Cubex’s Aurora office scheme at Finzels Reach is now well underway, with completion expected by the end of 2017. While the 53,000 sq ft refurbishment at Castleforge’s One Cathedral Square, is due to complete in May 2017.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 office requirements in Bristol and some 50 companies approaching lease events that could result in a relocation in 2017 or 2018.