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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Metropolis Office Movers in February 2018

Metropolis ran 528 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the slightly  shorter month of February 2018. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 15 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 235 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (50),  North West (48), Scotland (42) and Yorkshire (41).  IT and business services were the 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, 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 538 February leads, included those on occupiers Facebook, Anixter, Dar Al Handasah, Novartis and CAF Rail.

The February 2018 leads included 156 ‘identified requirements’, including 82 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 156 searches, 100 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 151 ‘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 2020.

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

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

Metropolis Q1 Research Update – Over 500 Office Requirements

 

Active Office Requirements

In Q1 2016, Metropolis researched over 500 companies actively searching for office space in the UK. Total office demand identified in Q1 hit 9.4m sq ft.

 

The top 5 sectors by UK office demand were:

Banking & Finance – 1.4m sq ft

Media – 1.1m sq ft

Technology & Telecoms – 0.8m sq ft

Government – 0.7m sq ft

Insurance – 0.5m sq ft

 

The top 5 UK Cities by office demand were:

London – 4.3m sq ft

Manchester – 0.6m sq ft

Leeds – 0.5m sq ft

Bristol – 0.4m sq ft

Glasgow – 0.3m sq ft

 

Potential Office Demand

Just over 5m sq ft of potential office demand, classified on the Metropolis database system as “Potential Mover” leads, was researched in Q1 2016. About 2.5m sq ft of this potential demand is attributed to office occupier lease expiry, which breaks down by year as follows:

2016 – 0.6m sq ft of office leases to expire

2017 – 1.2m sq ft of office leases to expire

2018 – 0.7m sq ft of office leases to expire

 

We could see about 200,000 sq ft of the potential demand from lease ends researched in Q1 2016 convert to active searches for office space this year, with several 20,000 sq ft + office requirements expected to surface from Media and Insurance companies in the next few months. One or two major requirements also look likely to trigger in the next few months from the 1.2m sq ft of 2017 leases due to expire, including a possible 80,000 sq ft West of London/Thames Valley requirement from a major Technology company.

 

The Metropolis database system holds all of the above data and thousands of other leads – for details on accessing the leads and joining Metropolis please email simon@metroinfo.co.uk or call us on 01296 631 186.

London West End Autumn 2015 – A Preview

Significant Demand In The Pipeline

This Metropolis blog breaks new ground with an attempt to give clients an insight into the ‘work in progress’ on forthcoming office requirements in the London West End market. In the spirit of those TV autumn trailers, we set out below a flavour of some of the stories we hope to bring Metropolis clients over the next two months.

Some Background

Outstanding, unsatisfied, named office requirements in central London are now estimated by Metropolis to be over 10m sq ft, which is the highest figure since the recession. This can only be an approximate figure as ‘requirements’ cover all types of searches from urgent ones involving tenants in buildings where the lease expires ahead of demolition to half-hearted searches by occupiers who are 90% sure that they will renew the lease, but want to compare the market in order to put some pressure on the existing landlord.

Many of the larger requirements (over 20,000 sq ft) are in advance of lease expiries in 2017-19. However, smaller searches below 10,000 sq ft, are often launched less than 18 months before lease expiry. In many cases the occupier is only looking because it needs more space, has a lease end, or it is affected by redevelopment. The costs of relocation tend to limit the number of ‘sideways moves’ involving a company relocating from one building to another, whilst keeping its occupancy size the same.

Recent West End Activity

Office relocation  activity in London’s West End has been a little muted so far in 2015. Figures compiled by Metropolis show Central London take-up in the 8 months to August was 7.6m sq ft, of which only 2m sq ft was to office space in the West End. Some 140,000 sq ft has been pre-let, 450,000 sq ft is grade A newly completed space, with the remainder secondhand.

Some of the larger deals have included Marshall Wace Asset Management’s 43,000 sq ft pre-let of 131 Sloane Street in Knightsbridge; Richemont’s 38,000 sq ft deal at Walmer House on Regents Street and just last month King.com’s letting of 65,000 sq ft at the recently-completed Ampersand Building on Oxford Street. Facebook is also set to confirm its 217,000 sq ft pre-letting of the under construction Rathbone Square in London, W1, which will be the largest West End letting this year.

What’s Coming Up

We are currently researching a number of promising West End leads which look likely to result in 40 named requirements and potentially 1.6m sq ft of office deals.

The majority of office requirements are for a move in 2016 (29), with the remainder lining up moves for 2017 or 2018. Some 23 occupiers are citing expansion as the trigger for their move, while 16 have lease events and the remainder are consolidating fragmented buildings or downsizing.

In terms of the sector, as the graph below shows, it is the media sector which dominates, followed by IT/e-commerce and financial services, including hedge funds and asset managers. The business services sector also remains important with a steady stream of new requirements from serviced office operators.

 

WE Requirements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around a quarter of companies are looking in the core areas of Mayfair and St James’s, with a further quarter searching in Victoria. A further 25% are searching Soho and north of Oxford Street up to Kings Cross and Euston with the remainder looking in fringe areas such as Camden or Hammersmith.

By size, around half of the 40 requirements are below 20,000 sq ft, with a third between 20,000 and 50,000 sq ft and the remaining five searches are over 100,000 sq ft.

In Conclusion

There is a healthy pipeline of new requirements being launched in London’s West End this autumn. As would be expected, media companies, hedge funds and asset managers are very active, but these have been joined by some of the large e-commerce and social network companies and business service providers to increase the competition for space. Metropolis is working to research the details of these requirements and will be publishing these online for clients shortly.

 

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd 2015

Metropolis Office Requirements – H1

Over 450 companies vie for London space

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Metropolis research identified over 17m sq ft of UK office demand in the first half of 2015. Just over 9.2m sq ft of this demand was for office space in Greater London, with over 450 companies searching for London space. In the rest of the UK Metropolis uncovered 400 requirements for new space representing 8.1m sq ft of office demand.

Central London office demand reached 8m sq ft, 3.8m sq ft (47.5%) of which was focused on the City of London. EC2 was the most popular postcode for companies planning a move,  with 1.4m sq ft of demand emerging in H1.

A significant proportion of total City of London demand (11%) came from two new law firm requirements, each firm looking for 200,000 sq ft. A new 150,000 sq ft requirement from an insurance group was also worthy of note. Demand from the banking and finance sector reached 1m sq ft, 26% of total City of London demand.

Demand for space in the West End, where rents can reach £125 psf, hit 1.8m sq ft. The largest West End requirement (150,000 sq ft) came from a social media group looking for offices in SW1. Just over 400,000 sq ft of office space (26% of total demand) was required by the banking & finance sector, 79% of which (315,000 sq ft) came from hedge funds and private investment firms.

Mid Town office demand reached 0.9m sq ft, pretty evenly split between WC1 and WC2. About 100,000 sq ft of Mid Town demand came from the technology sector and 90,000 sq ft from the media sector. Demand from law firms was just over 120,000 sq ft and demand from the banking and finance sector totalled 110,000 sq ft.

The largest office requirement in the South Bank (SE1) was a 140,000 sq ft search by an engineering and construction firm. Other requirements of note include a US insurance firm switching a 60,000 sq ft search from Maidenhead to London SE1, and a TV Broadcaster looking for 30,000 sq ft to house its news department.

Two big requirements dominated demand for office space in the Docklands: a German investment bank back office requirement for 350,000 sq ft and an information company requirement for 300,000 sq ft, with a sub-let mooted.

 

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The Top 5 Regional Cities

Manchester – The largest requirement, 400,000 sq ft, was a search by a government department considering space near Piccadilly Station in Manchester. Just over 250,000 sq ft of Manchester office demand came from the legal sector and 300,000 sq ft of demand was attributed to the insurance sector.

Edinburgh – Similar to the picture in Manchester, Edinburgh demand was dominated by a large government requirement for office space (300,000 sq ft), although this requirement could move to Glasgow. In terms of private sector demand, notable requirements included a 100,000 sq ft search by a US Bank and two significant searches from law firms seeking a move in central Edinburgh, one for 50,000 sq ft and the other 30,000 sq ft. There was also significant demand from the accountancy sector, with four firms searching for just over 130,000 sq ft.

Birmingham – A retail bank was linked with the largest office requirement in Birmingham: 170,000 sq ft,  a search now satisfied by space at Miller Developments Arena Central scheme.  Other significant requirements include a potential 100,000 sq ft search from a law firm and a 50,000 sq ft search from a business education group.

Reading – The largest requirement for Reading offices came from a network broadcaster looking for 150,000 sq ft, closely followed by a utility company searching for 140,000 sq ft. Both requirements also consider other Thames valley locations such as Bracknell, Farnborough and Slough.

Bristol – Bristol office demand was dominated by insurance company requirements, with the sector accounting for 56% of total demand (280,000 sq ft). Other notable requirements include an 80,000 sq ft search from a Bristol based law firm planning to combine two of its offices (which may now be a refurbishment and extension of the existing building) and an engineering group searching for 25,000 sq ft.

 

Top Ten Cities (Excluding London) by H1 Office Demand

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Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd 2015

 

 

Top Ten London Business Sectors

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For the sixth year running, Banking and finance leads dominate the London business sector top ten. The largest search for space emerging from this sector in 2014 was a 300,000 sq ft requirement for HQ offices in London EC3, closely followed by a 200,000 sq ft office requirement in London EC2 and a similar sized requirement from a bank looking in EC4. Total new office demand in London from this sector was 4m sq ft.

Office demand from hedge funds amounted to just under 250,000 sq ft, with the average requirement a search for about 10,000 sq ft and the most popular postcodes London W1, SW1 and WC2. Demand from financial investment firms was 800,000 sq ft, with the most popular postcodes London EC2, EC3 and EC4.

Newly identified office demand from the media sector in London was about 2.5m sq ft. The largest search was a 300,000 sq ft requirement for HQ space in London W6. Other significant searches focused on London EC1 and SE1. The technology and telecoms sector, often grouped with Media under the banner “TMT”, had a similar preference for space in these postcodes, with space in WC1 and N1 also of considerable interest. Technology and telecoms demand for London offices was just over 1.5m sq ft.

 

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London office demand from the law sector remains strong, with 2m sq ft of new requirements identified last year. London EC2 and EC4 remain the most popular postcodes for this sector, although a significant number of 30,000 sq ft searches centered on London WC1 and WC2. There were over 40 confirmed law firm lettings last year, with 50% of firms yet to move.

New insurance sector office demand centered on London EC3, with 700,000 sq ft of space required in this postcode last year, matching 2013 demand. Another 300,000 sq ft was required by this sector, mainly in EC2.

In central London, Metropolis identified just over 14m sq ft of new requirements for offices. The top 5 most sought after postcodes areas by demand were: EC2 (3m sq ft), EC3 (2m sq ft), EC4 (1.6m sq ft), E14 (1.5m sq ft) and W1 (1.4m sq ft).

 

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There is currently a healthy level of competition for good quality completed and pipeline space in central London. We expect 2015 to be another good year for London fit-out, as companies continue to occupy space pre-let in previous years.

According to our research office take up in 2014 reached 12.7m sq ft, up 5% on the 2013 total. Take up in 2015 is also likely to be strong, but may not grow again by quite the same margin. Metropolis is currently tracking just over 12m sq ft of live office requirements in London and is picking up moves, on average, over 18 months before a deal is signed.

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd, January 2015

 

Metropolis Office Requirements – Q3 2014

9.5m sq ft of demand

Our team here at Metropolis researched over 370 UK company office requirements in Q3 2014, representing 9.5m sq ft of office demand.

6m sq ft of this demand was for space in Greater London and 4.9m sq ft was demand for space in central London.

Demand for City of London space continued to be strong during Q3, with 2.4m sq ft required in over 60 planned relocations. Three of the top five largest requirements in the City were searches by technology and media companies. EC2 demand made up 37.5% of the total space required.

1.4m sq ft of demand was identified in the West End of London, split equally between requirements for space in London SW1 and W1. Again three of the top five largest requirements were searches by technology and media companies, with two significant searches by financial service sector companies identified.

Mid Town office demand was largely focused on London WC2, with 100,000 sq ft of the 300,000 sq ft required in this postcode attributed to media sector requirements.

Just over 0.6m sq ft of demand was researched in London’s Southbank, 200,000 sq ft of which was triggered by an energy company’s requirement for additional space in the area.

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Similar to H1 results, the Banking & Finance sector is leading the demand for new UK offices, with 1.4m sq ft of requirements in the UK, just over 0.4m sq ft of which is sought in the City of London.

Requirements from media sector companies represented just over 1m sq ft of demand, a 300,000 sq ft requirement in London W1 significantly boosting this figure. Technology & Telecom sector requirements came a close third with 0.9m sq ft of demand. The law sector accounted for 0.8m sq ft of demand and the insurance sector 0.5m sq ft.

 

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Simon Sluszny October 2014

Copyright Metropolis Property Research Ltd