Birmingham Upswing

A recent report by specialist Birmingham consultant KWB, reveals that the Birmingham city centre office market recovered in the first quarter of 2017 back to normal Q1 levels.

Office space transactions in the first quarter of 2017 totalling 139,000 sq ft – more than 30,000 sq ft over total transactions in each of the third and final quarters of 2016.  The largest deal of the quarter was by Arcadis’ signing for 22,953 sq ft at Cornerblock which is currently being refurbished, followed by iHub’s 18,378 sq ft new base in Colmore Gate. Recruitment specialist SThree Group was also the first tenant to sign 10,035 sq ft at the newly refurbished 10 Temple Street, on the 4th and 5th floors on a 10-year lease.

KWB say that the first quarter of 2017 was very much on a par with that of 2015. Looking ahead, KWB say that the rest of 2017 looks set fair, with the highest level of office development underway in Birmingham city centre for 15 years (1.4 million sq ft), a good supply of top quality Grade ‘A’ space is coming on stream and should trigger some significant office lettings in the coming months. Schemes include 55 Colmore Row
(160,000 sq ft), Corner Block (112,000 sq ft) and the Lewis Building (110,000 sq ft). The much reported HMRC requirement, which has shortlisted Three Snowhill, Arena Central and Post & Mail building, will see a letting of 200,000-300,000 sq ft and KWB also expect the HS2 halo effect to strengthen the Birmingham city centre office market.

Metropolis is currently tracking over 30 medium and large office requirements in Birmingham. Looking ahead, HS2 will have a major pull in 2017. The city has already seen Laing O’Rourke take 11,000 sq ft at 1 Victoria Square in 2016 and engineering firms and consultants are likely  to be a big sector going for office moves this year. In addition, there are nearly 40 tenants which are approaching decisions on lease or office consolidation plans over the next eighteen months.

 

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.

Central London Lettings March 2017

Central London office lettings in March 2017 recorded nearly 1.05m sq ft of deals from 64 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The March’s figure represents a rise on the 905,000 sq ft of lettings in February, and brings the Q1 2017 total upto nearly 2.6m sq ft of market activity, close to the recent average.

March was characterised by 13 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Cancer Research’s 100,000 sq ft pre-let in Stratford: the Amazon’s 89,000 expansion at Principal Place in London, E1; ITV taking 88,000 sq ft at Waterhouse Square, WC1 and HSBC taking 31,000 sq ft at 71 Queen Victoria Street, EC4.

Tech and IT services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Amazon deal, this was followed by charity headed by the Cancer Research transaction and media with large deals involving ITV and Buzzfeed. Business services also performed well helped by the lettings to Instant Offices and The Space. Office deals under offer in central London remain at 2.1m sq ft.

By area, the City accounted for an improved 40pc of the office floorspace let in March – a doubling of the February level. The West End saw 220,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 140,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.5m sq ft in the City and 3.2m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 243,000 sq ft (23% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space maintained their recent strong showing.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are shortly to release its twice yearly Skyline report on the London office construction market. The Q1 report features details of the 100 schemes under construction and the trends for the next wave of schemes. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King 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).

Metropolis Research in Feb and Mar 2017

Metropolis ran an average of 635 ‘movers’ in the months of February and March 2017, some 1,271 in total. If all moves were added together the total would exceed 5.5 million sq ft of office transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence team. London was the largest region with an average of 280 leads each month, but there were also strong showings from the South East, Scotland and Yorkshire. Financial services and TMT (technology and media) 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 635 leads included leads on Apple, Deutsche Bank, Michelin and Goldman Sachs.

The February and March 2017 leads included 361 ‘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 361 searches, 238 were new office searches, not previously notified.

The most recent research also included 380 ‘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 50 stories posted in February and March 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