Central London office lettings in July 2018

Central London office lettings in July 2018 reached just over 1.4m sq ft from 41 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The July 2018 figure is comfortably above the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

July was characterised by 15 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Facebooks’s 600,000 sq ft deal to pre-let 11/21 Canal Reach and Building P2 Handyside Street, N1; WeWork’s 131,000 sq ft deal at Aviation House, WC2 and Houlihan Lokey’s 41,000 sq ft move to 1 Curzon Street, W1.

IT and technology services topped the table of lettings by sector, compiled by Metropolis, underpinned by the huge Facebook deal, plus a deal to Benevolent AI. This was followed by business services led by a number of lettings to WeWork and The Office Group. Financial services, professional and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.8m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 7pc of the office floorspace let in July 2018 at 100,000 sq ft. The West End saw 276,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed a record breaking 950,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.6m sq ft in the City and 3.1m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 800,000 sq ft sq ft (57% 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 650 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.7m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is working on its autumn ‘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 Metropolis and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

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Regional Office Boost

CBRE’s recent report ‘United Kingdom Office – The Property Perspective H1 2018’ concludes that office mover activity in the regions outside London continued to be ‘lively’ during the first half of 2018

CBRE say that regional office occupier markets in the first half of 2018 with few signs of Brexit-related uncertainty. The ten regional cities monitored by CBRE, saw take-up reach nearly 3.9m sq ft, which was 24% above the five-year average and 37% higher than the 2.8m sq ft newly occupied in the same period of 2017.

CBRE saw large numbers of requirement in regional cities and say that relocation activity could have been even higher if there had not been a shortage of new office space in some cities. CBRE particularly point to shortages in Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow where the development pipeline has not kept pace with demand. These shortages will drive further pre-let and refurbishment activity.

Metropolis echoes the CBRE findings, with nearly 400 regional office requirement leads flagged to subscribers in the first half of 2018, together with a similar number of companies finding space for moves between January and June.

CBRE say that The UK’s flexible office space operators continued to expand, with Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, and the wider South East the stand out expansion locations in H1. Bristol witnessed a
notable increase in demand with a key deal to Runway East (30,000 sq ft). In Birmingham, deals were concluded with BE Group, Instant, iHub, Regus and Orega, whilst in Glasgow there were prominent deals to
Orega and Regus. In the wider South East region, flexible office space providers took nearly 200,000 sq ft with Slough and Reading the most popular locations. Runway East and other operators also have live requirements in all the regional cities, with CBRE predicting more activity from this sector in H2.

Regional cities saw a record year of take-up in 2017, with the public sector playing a large role in regional office space demand in H1 2018 (just over 0.9m sq ft). HM Revenue & Customs accounted for the three largest transactions ranging between 157,000 – 270,000 sq ft in Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

CBRE forecast the West Midlands as a region to watch. They say the West Midlands is experiencing some of the fastest growth in the country – Birmingham itself seeing prices rise by 6.9% in the year to May Birmingham is attracting public sector bodies, looking for more affordable solutions away from London. The latest requirement is from the General Dental Council, relocating 200 staff London.