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.

Advertisements

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

New Lease Research from Metropolis

The London office market has maintained steady office letting take-up during 2017. The latest figures calculated by Metropolis to the end of Q3 2017 reveal office transactions totaling 8.8m sq ft for the first nine months of the year (deals 5,000 sq ft and above). Based on these figures and a number of large office moves under offer, 12m sq ft take up by the end of the year is not out of the question. If 12m sq ft is achieved this would surpass the 11m sq ft of 2016 and match the total for 2015.

The table below breaks down take-up in London in 2017 by the five largest sectors

Sector                             % of take-up
Financial                          20%
Business Services           19%
IT/Computer                   15%
Professional                     12%
Media                                11%

Financial services leads the way, boosted by the large pre-let in the City to Deutsche Bank. Business services comes a close second helped by over 900,000 sq ft of lettings to serviced office operator WeWork. IT has been driven by large expansions by Expedia, Amazon and Spotify. By area, the City has taken around 40% of take-up, with West End, Midtown and Southbank broadly taking 15% each. Docklands has had  a very quiet 2017.

Metropolis has recorded 96 deals for London office space of 20,000 sq ft or more in so far 2017 amounting to 5m sq ft. Business services, underpinned by WeWork deals, takes over 1.2m sq ft of that, followed by 880,000 sq ft of financial sector driven by Deutsche Bank, 600,000 sq ft of IT industry deals and nearly 500,000 sq ft from professional companies (law firms, accountants, consultants). a further 2m sq ft of deals are ‘under offer’ and close to signing in Q4 2017.

Recently some office market analysts have advanced the view that the London office market for moves under 20,000 sq ft is ‘patchy’. So Metropolis went back to all the potential office occupiers contacted in 2016, approaching 2017 lease expiries, to trace what happened next.

Taking a sample from the 700 London-based occupiers contacted during 2016, Metropolis found that, despite the fact that many were simultaneously negotiating with the landlord of the existing office, over 70% of occupiers decided to move, prior to the upcoming lease expiry. The sector with the strongest propensity to move was media and the least likely to move was business services. The larger a company, the slightly higher propensity to move. West End companies were slightly more likely to move than City-based ones.

The last nine months has seen a strong pace of office space pre-lets set by incoming tenants in advance of construction completion. In total, some 4.3m sq ft of London office space, that is currently under construction, has been pre-let. Some of the high profile recent pre-lets included Boston Consulting, Metro Bank taking 67,000 sq ft of offices at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Boston Consulting and Arup at 80 Charlotte Street, W1; HSBC taking 30,000 at Cork Street, W1 and Kings College at Roman Wall House, EC3.

The most common trigger for pre-let relocation is expansion. Nearly 50% of the space completed over the previous 6 months has now been let and includes big lettings to likes of Universal Music, Cancer Research, XTX Markets, British Council, Cleary Gottlieb, Schroders and Moneysupermarket.

Looking ahead, our research with thousands of London office tenants suggests a robust level of take-up in Q4 2017, although the increasing attractions of serviced office space and Brexit uncertainty could have an impact in the medium term.

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

Manchester’s Top Future Relocations

Lambert Smith Hampton has just released its Manchester office market report for Q2 2017. City centre office take-up for reached 284,497 sq ft across 68 transactions, a 23.3% increase on the same quarter in 2016. The cumulative 492,730 sq ft for the first half of 2017 is an increase of 14.6% on 2016.

The latest big relocations, movers and inward investments included: co-working giant We Work taking 55,802 sq ft offices at No.1 Spinningfields. Weightmans took 17,949 sq ft at the same building. EY is taking 40,000 sq ft at 2 St Peters Square; Car Finance 247 is relocating to 40,000 sq ft at Universal Building, Devonshire Street North; Distrelec is taking 17,000 sq ft at 2 St Peter’s Square, while Vodafone signed for 33,000 sq ft at Atlantic House.  Lookers acquired the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham,  21,200 sq ft was let at Regent Place, Salford to Convergys and Kaplan Financial also agreed a 10,000 sq ft move. Deals under 3,000 sq ft still accounted for 40% of take up

LSH secured the largest office deal this year outside of the city centre by acquiring 47,149 sq ft at 106 Dalton Avenue at Patrizia UK’s Birchwood Park, Warrington for Cavendish Nuclear. Business Services, consumer services and leisure and banking and finance have been the strongest sectors for take-up in the first half of the year. These three sectors accounted for 34%, 20% and 18% of take-up respectively

Metropolis is monitoring around 50 current office requirements in Manchester and around 60 ‘potential movers’, that is companies approaching lease expiries or with expansion plans, which have not decided whether to move yet.

Looking ahead, Manchester is expected to see faster office based employment growth over the next five years than Greater London and all of the major UK regional cities. Office based employment is
expected to grow by 6% over the next five years, significantly above the UK average of 3.5%.

Central London Lettings – June 2017

Central London office lettings in June 2017 bounced back just over 1.75m sq ft of deals from 108 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month.

The June figure represents a near tripling of the 600,000 sq ft sq ft of lettings in May. It brings the Q2 2017 central London lettings to a very respectable 3.1m sq ft and comfortably above the 2.4m sq ft in Q1.

June was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included WeWork’s 283,000 sq ft pre-let of the under construction Southbank Place building, SE1: Framstore took 93,000 sq ft at 28 Chancery Lane, WC2; Industrial Light and Magic took 47,000 sq ft at Lacon House, Theobalds Road, WC1 and Hermes taking 46,000 sq ft at 150 Cheapside in EC2.

Business Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by WeWork deals, this was followed by media and financial services with large deals involving Industrial Light and Hermes. IT services also performed well, helped by the lettings to Misys and Reply. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London held steady at 3.5m sq ft and volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 32pc of the office floorspace let in June at 566,000 sq ft. The West End saw 315,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 400,000 sq ft of lettings, which was equalled by Southbank. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.3m 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 840,000 sq ft (48% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are releasing its 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