February 2018 Central London Lettings

Central London office lettings in February 2018 reached just over 1m sq ft of deals from 50 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The February 2018 figure is in line with the current monthly average of 1m sq ft.

February was characterised by 11 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Sumitomo’s 161,000 sq ft re-letting at 100 Liverpool Street, EC3; Sidley Austin’s 135,000 sq ft pre-letting at 70 St Mary Axe, EC3 and Prudential took 59,000 sq ft at Angel Court Tower, EC2.

Financial Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by Sumitomo and Prudential deals. This was followed by professional services mainly underpinned by the signing of the Sidley Austin pre-let. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London stayed 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 50pc of the office floorspace let in February 2018 at 501,000 sq ft. The West End saw 266,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 66,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 143,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3m sq ft in the City and 2.9m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 557,000 sq ft (55% 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 655 ‘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

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Scottish Offices 2018

Lambert Smith Hampton, the property adviser, has just published its review of the Scottish office market in 2017 and makes its predictions for 2018.

LSH say that for half of office movers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen (57% of occupiers), relocation was more likely to be prompted by a lease expiry or break option, a pattern that underlines the importance of market churn over inward moves from companies based outside Scotland.

Notable transactions triggered by lease events included State Street Bank and Trust Company (65,628 sq ft at Lauriston Place, Edinburgh), the Scottish Prison Service (51,009 sq ft at
Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh) and Balfour Beatty (43,568 sq ft at Maxim 7, Glasgow).

Expansion was the trigger for 26% of relocations, indicating ongoing confidence among occupiers. Expansion also played a part in a number of deals in Aberdeen despite the dip in oil prices, albeit none of these involved occupiers in the energy sector. Key deals spurred by expansion included the University of West Scotland (225,000 sq ft), Computershare (41,395 sq ft) and the Student Loans Company (40,853 sq ft). Common among these occupiers was a desire for better quality office space or a more effective working environment.

In Edinburgh, location was behind the vast majority of relocation choices. In Glasgow, location accounted for less than half of deals. In some instances, occupiers were able to expand at the current base. For
example, Wescot Credit Services acquired an additional 10,567 sq ft at 38 Cadogan Street, Glasgow while Actavo acquired a further 10,685 sq ft at Alexandra Parade, Citypark, Glasgow.

Better quality office space was cited as the key driver of choice in 14% of deals, a notable example being Mott MacDonald’s acquisition of 34,515 sq ft of grade A space at St Vincent Plaza in Glasgow. Improved efficiency was the key driver of choice for 12% of deals, the largest being ST Microelectronics acquisition of 21,530 sq ft of grade A space at Tanfield, Edinburgh.

Looking ahead, to the end of 2020, Scotland’s five largest town’s and cities possess almost 450 known lease events in excess of 5,000 sq ft. 2018 will see 145 lease expiries and breaks above 5,000 sq ft across the
key markets, amounting to just over 2.1m sq ft of potential demand.

Metropolis is currently monitoring over 50 Scottish companies with plans to move in 2018 and over 100 occupiers coming up to decisions on leases in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Metropolis Office Movers in November 2017

Metropolis ran 640 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the month of November 2017. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 12 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 288 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (64), North West (63) and Scotland (39). Business services, IT and financial 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 640 November leads, included those on Facebook, Channel 4, WeWork, Bupa and Lloyds.

The November 2017 leads included 214 ‘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 214 searches, 124 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 149 ‘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 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

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Cityoffices.net, the sister property leads service to Metropolis, has published its ‘Autumn 2017’ survey on the office construction market in central London, with details of new schemes starting, the dozens of schemes at preparation stage and 200 office schemes in the pipeline for construction starts in 2017-2020.

For more information on Cityoffices, email Andy at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Central London Lettings – September 2017

Central London office lettings in September 2017 reached a healthy 965,000 sq ft of deals from 61 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The September figure conforms to the current monthly average of just under 1m sq ft .

September was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Boston Consulting’s 123,000 sq ft pre-let at 80 Charlotte Street, W1, Metro Bank’s pre-let at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Costain took 30,000 sq ft at Victoria House, WC1, and Mitie took 30,000 sq ft at The Shard, SE1.

Professional services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Boston Consulting deal. This was followed by financial services with the large deals involving Metro Bank. Property and Business services also performed well, helped by the lettings to Costain and Mitie. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased slightly at 3.6m sq ft and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 33pc of the office floorspace let in September at 314,000 sq ft. The West End saw 263,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 242,000 sq ft of lettings. 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 448,000 sq ft (46% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Some 8.9m sq ft of offices were let in the first 3 quarters of 2017 to end of September 2017.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 620 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 2m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are working on an analysis of lease expiries which were due to expire in 2017 and the latest London Skyline report. The update will contain details of dozens of new office schemes under construction, planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Skyline Report Summer 2017

Metropolis and Cityoffices are about to publish their bi-annual survey of office construction in central London.

 

  • The survey brings readers all the statistics on the 101 office schemes in central London currently under construction and tenant activity connected to those schemes, right up to date to June 2017.

 

  • The survey, compiled after many hours of street surveys, telephone research and crosschecking, takes a snapshot of the central London office construction in Q2 2017, recent completions, recent pre-letting activity and looks ahead to future pipeline projects that will shape the next three years.

 

  • The report looks at the volume of construction underway, lists the major new scheme starts and looks at the proportion of refurbishment space compared to new builds. The report breaks down office construction by London district: City, West End, Midtown etc, as well as major recent building completions.

 

  • The survey also looks at occupier demand, with recent trends in pre-letting including examples of recent deals and a comparison with each of the last ten years.

 

  • The report then turns to the future pipeline including the 29 schemes currently at site preparation stage and 200 schemes with planning consent awaiting a start date.

 

  • Finally, it concludes with some forecasts for London office development based on current trends and makes predictions for London occupier demand over the rest of 2017 based on Metropolis’ detailed London office tenant research.

 

The report will be available free of charge to Metropolis and Cityoffices subscribers. If you are interested in a subscription contact Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Refurbishment change

A recent report from Savills highlights the changing nature of office schemes in regional cities.

Rising construction costs and slim margins are pushing developers towards refurbishments and the new trend is for a higher quality of refurbishments according to Savills. Nearly 40% of the pipeline of office schemes in regional cities will be delivered in the form of refurbishments.

A sustained level of demand for space in many of the regional cities alongside a lack of new office schemes, is boosting demand for refurbished office space. Landlords are turning to refurbishments to capture lettings from professional occupiers including lawyers, accountants and engineering firms.

As an example, Helical’s ongoing refurbishment of Churchgate House in Manchester which has transformed the building from part-occupied and unattractive to now being fully let. Occupiers have been attracted by a new reception incorporating touch down space, collaborative working areas and a high quality cafe.

Aviva is refurbishing 11 Portland Street, Manchester, which will provide single floors of up to 20,000 sq ft. The major refurbishment incorporates an entirely new principal reception area which has been repositioned to the corner of Portland Street and Aytoun Street.

Savills expect Bristol to be the next city to see a step change in demand for refurbished office space, driven by both a shortage of new build office space.

Metropolis has published business leads on 160 planned office schemes in London and regional cities over the last six months including details of developers and architect contacts, as well as timescales and any pre-lets. In addition Cityoffices.net includes details of all pipeline schemes, with full contact names and numbers.

Newcastle Office Market

A recent 2017 report by Knight Frank, revealed that Newcastle city centre take-up fell by 15% during 2016 reaching 220,000 sq ft.

Business Services accounted for the largest proportion of city centre take-up in 2016 at 22%. There was also a continued increase in activity in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) sector.

Out of town, total take-up reached 492,000 sq ft, with the North East has attracted an increasing number of ‘footloose’ occupiers in recent years.

Key transactions included a 35,000 sq ft letting to Convergys at The Rocket in the Stephenson Quarter. The most significant deal in the TMT sector was Zerolight’s new lease of the entire LiveWorks development on Newcastle Quayside (15,000 sq ft) only months after the building completed.

Metropolis is monitoring around 20 companies with identified or possible office searches in Newcastle.

Figures from local agent Naylors show 177,041 sq ft of out of town office space in Newcastle was let in Q1 of 2017. In contrast, only 33,461 sq ft of city centre office space was let in the same period. In Q1 2017, Frank Recruitment let 19,000 sq ft at the St Nicholas Building, while Sir Robert McAlpine is taking 8,000 sq ft in the same building.

Out of town, Quorum Business Park secured the largest letting with Sitel taking 47,000 sq ft. Other significant deals included Leeds Building Society moving their regional HQ from Silverlink to Cobalt Business Park and Parseq acquiring 20,000 sq ft at Camberwell House, Doxford Business Park.

The office market in Newcastle remains relatively quiet, with the majority of companies approaching lease events in 2017, choosing to renew current arrangements rather than search for alternative space. Future market growth is likely to mainly come from companies outside the region inward investing and expansions.