London Office Market Analysis

Estates Gazette has just published in analysis of the London office market in 2017. The main conclusions include:

 

  • Total central London office take up was 12.6m sq ft (all deals) which was up around 2m sq ft on the 2016 total in a relatively strong year and just above the five year average;

 

  • The City core saw just under 3.6m sq ft of deals in 2017, together with 1.8m sq ft in the City fringe. Both figures are down on previous years;

 

  • Lettings in the Midtown, West End and Southbank areas were strongly up by over 40% last year;

 

  • Lettings of Grade A space were up strongly at 52% of all lettings in 2017, compared to 42% in 2016;

 

  • Overall, TMT was the most active sector in 2017 as a whole, accounting for more than 27% of all lettings. The five biggest deals in the quarter were from the TMT, Central and Local Government, Property, and Financial sectors. A proportion of small and medium sized occupiers are being absorbed by serviced office space;

 

  • Some 3.7m sq ft of new office space was started in 2017, but this compares with an average of over 5m sq ft of starts in 2015 and 2016. This means there are lots of speculative completions coming through, which in turn in driving higher take-up;

 

  • Around 8.3m sq ft of new London office completions are planned for 2018 (a ten year high), with over 6.3m sq ft of completions already planned for 2019;

 

  • Overall London office availability has risen from 4.3% in 2015 to 7.4% in late 2017, driven by a rise in secondhand space that now stands at 12.4m sq ft;

 

  • As a result rents overall are edging down, which could encourage more occupiers to relocate;

 

  • 2018 take-up in central London is likely to be driven by new build deals;

 

Metropolis forecasts that the rising volume and proportion of new build letting transactions will sustain the fit-out and office equipment supply markets in 2018-19.

Cityoffices.net forecasts a strong pipeline of new schemes (there are over 200 in the pipeline of 20,000 sq ft or more) seeing construction starts in 2018.

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Central London office lettings in December and 2017 Summary

Central London office lettings in December 2017 reached a healthy 1.1m sq ft of deals from 40 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The December figure slightly outperforms the current monthly average of 1m sq ft . Annual London take-up reached 12.2m sq ft, just above the 2016 figure.

December was characterised by 13 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Turner Broadcasting’s 100,000 sq ft letting at 160 Old Street, EC1; Penguin’s 83,000 sq ft letting at Embassy Gardens, SW8; Vitol took 48,000 sq ft at Nova, SW1 and Enstar took 32,000 sq ft at Creechurch Place, EC3.

Media topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by Turner and Penguin deals. This was followed by IT services with the large deals involving Google and Dell.  Insurance and business services also performed well, helped by the lettings to Enstar and XBridge. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London fell slightly to 3m sq ft but pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 39pc of the office floorspace let in December at 419,000 sq ft. The West End saw 184,000 sq ft of take-up, underpinned by Vitol. Midtown contributed 236,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 90,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3m sq ft in the City and 2.7m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 558,000 sq ft (52% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 640 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.8m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is shortly to publish its annual review of the planning pipeline in London. Further details of 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

2017 Review

The 12.2m sq ft of central London take-up recorded in 2017 (deals 5,000 sq ft and above) was slightly above the 11.9m sq ft recorded in 2016.

The largest deals were lettings to Deutsche Bank, Dentsu Aegis, then 3 lettings to WeWork

The serviced office sector took nearly 2m sq ft of offices in 2017. WeWork let over 1.24m sq ft (10%) of the total 2017 take-up

As well as Business services, Financial services took 1.9m sq ft, IT sector took 1.5m sq ft, Media took 1.2m sq ft and Professional 1.1m sq ft

The City accounted for 5.1m sq ft, Midtown 2.4m sq ft, West End was 3.1m sq ft

200 Movers in Manchester

A recent report from the Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF) revealed a total of 1.208m sq ft of office lettings across 271 transactions in 2017, well above the 10-year average.

Metropolis ran over 330 business leads on Manchester office moves in 2017, which if all added together would total over 10m sq ft.

MOAF said strong demand for prime offices has left the market with a record low supply of Grade A office space.

The main schemes with available space are 101 Embankment, No 1 Spinningfields, 3 Hardman Square, 40 Spring Gardens and 2 St Peter’s Square, which is likely to trigger some short-term refurbishment projects

There are a number of Grade A schemes under construction to include Landmark (180,000 sq ft), 125 Deansgate (126,000 sq ft), Hanover, NOMA (90,000 sq ft), Circle Square (230,000 sq ft) and 11 York Street (80,000 sq ft), the majority of which will be delivered in mid-late 2019.

Key office lettings in 2017 included: 55,802 sq ft to We Work at No1 Spinningfields and 44,000 sq ft at One St Peters Square, 77,449 sq ft to DWP at 2 St Peters Square and Clyde & Co taking 69,000 sq ft at Manchester Royal Exchange.

Metropolis research also relayed early warning news of large Manchester moves by companies including Barclays Bank, Distelrec, Bupa, Callcare, Virgin Media and The Hut.

Forthcoming Manchester moves tipped by Metropolis for 2018 or beyond total just over 200.

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

Opportunities in Serviced Offices

Colliers International has published a new report on the serviced or flexible workspace sector. Colliers outline how the workplace solutions providers have been hoovering up office space in London at a faster rate than any other sector apart from tech and media.

Flexible office providers have accounted for 18% of take-up across London during 2017 date. Central London is now home to over 7.8 million sq ft of flexible workspace from 4.5 million sq ft in 2009. This is a rise of 73% in eight years, although flexible workspace space currently only represents 4% of total London office stock.

2017 is set to deliver up to 15,000 desks by year end. Serviced office lettings appeared to have peaked at 1.4 million sq ft in 2015, however, 2017 is set to see that figure eclipsed with 1.2 million already let and a further 750,000 sq ft under offer.

WeWork has taken over 1.25 million sq ft of office space within the past 12 months. Blackstone and British Land have both begun in-house flexibile solution without leasing space to major providers like WeWork or Regus.

Paddington and City fringe, have seen increasing vacancy rates below 5,000 sq ft, and Victoria and parts of Midtown have seen void periods double in 2017. The City core has held up, but also seen activity from providers such as WeWork, Prospect Business Centres, i2, Regus and LEO.

Metropolis has researched nearly 20 specific requirements for medium/large London serviced offices in recent months. These new searches come on top of 25 recent transactions for space. Opportunities exist for agents recruiting occupiers for the large new flexible work centres, for fit-out contractors refurbishing usually previously vacant space, for furniture providers and removal firms handling the myriad moves to the new buildings.

Colliers say the need for short leases and flexible space, particularly since the Brexit vote, is driving demand for increasing volumes of flexible workspace space. Although, flexible workspace only represents 4% of London office stock, it looks set to become an important slice of the market, not just in London, but increasingly in regional cities too.

Central London Lettings – July 2017

Central London office lettings in July 2017 sustained a healthy 820,000 sq ft of deals from 48 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The July figure is close to the current monthly average of just under 1m sq ft .

July was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Spotify’s 104,000 sq ft deal at the Adelphi Building, WC2: law firm Withers pre-let 60,000 sq ft at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Yahoo/AOL took 43,000 sq ft at Mid City Place, WC1 and HSBC pre-let 36,000 sq ft at 7 Cork Street in W1.

IT and tech services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Spotify and Yahoo deals. This was followed by professional services with large deals involving Withers and Bazalgette Tunnel. Financial services also performed well, helped by the lettings to HSBC and Redington. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London held steady at 3.4m sq ft and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 31pc of the office floorspace let in July at 250,000 sq ft. The West End saw 177,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 300,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.2m sq ft in the City and 3m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 480,000 sq ft (58% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 600 London requirements, with deals for space of up to 3m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices and Metropolis have just released releasing their twice yearly Skyline report on the London office construction market. The summer report features analysis 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

London Lettings – February 2017

Central London office lettings in February 2017 recorded 905,000 sq ft of deals from 54 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The February figure represents a big rise on the 567,000 sq ft of lettings in January, to a more normal level of market activity.

February was characterised by 9 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included the Expedia’s 136,000 expansion at the Angel Building in London, EC1; Arup pre-let 133,000 sq ft at Derwent London’s  under construction 80 Charlotte Street, London, W1 scheme, which is due to complete around June 2019 and Office Group took 70,000 sq ft at 84 Eccleston Square, London, SW1.  Pre-lets have accounted for over 35% of 2017’s take-up to date.

Tech and IT services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Expedia deal, this was followed by property services with large deals involving Arup and Kier Property. Business services also performed well helped by the letting to the Office Group. Office deals under offer in central London stayed at 2.1m sq ft, including a large pending deal at 28 Chancery Lane, WC2.

By area, the City accounted for a modest 21pc of the office floorspace let in February – a fallback even from the 34pc in January. The West End saw an exceptional 450,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 220,000 sq ft of lettings more than the City. 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 an impressive 500,000 sq ft (55% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space maintained their recent strong showing.

Metropolis has just released its eagerly awaited London Fit-Out report for 2017. Details from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Best quarter for Aberdeen

Recent research from CBRE reveals that in the third quarter of 2016, office lettings in Aberdeen reached 66,174 sq ft. This total made it the best performing quarter in Aberdeen so far this year.

The cumulative Aberdeen take-up volume for the first nine months of 2016 was 152,683 sq ft, below average levels for the end of the third quarter. The low oil price continues to impact on office demand although a recent increase in crude prices to $51, is signalling a possibly better year ahead.

The largest Aberdeen letting to take place in Q3 saw serviced office operator Citibase acquire a 22,000 sq ft west end office building at 9 Queens Road. Within the city centre, another floor of nearly 6,000 sq ft has been let to HM Ministry of Justice at AB1, Orega, the serviced office provider, has signed to take 26,000 sq ft on the 1st and 2nd floors at the under construction, 9-storey ‘Silver Fin’ office scheme in Aberdeen.

Metropolis is tracking around a dozen office searches and potential searches in Aberdeen.

Total office space available at the end of the third quarter reached a new high of 2.45m sq ft, which is a year-on-year increase of 45% from Q3 2015. Muse’s 170,000 sq ft Marischal Square development is also under construction and will complete in Q2 2017.

Prime office headline rents in Aberdeen are unchanged at £32 per sq ft, with an absence of recent prime transactions to challenge the current level.