January 26, 2017
Demand for commercial property in the UK continues to grow even as the country prepares to leave the European Union, according to the latest quarterly Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) market survey. The report for Q4 2016 suggests that a large proportion of the increase was linked to the attractiveness of UK commercial property for foreign investors. But there are signs of trouble ahead, as the report acknowledges some negative expectations for London commercial property values amid fears the capital will bear the brunt of any Brexit-led departure of firms. Over the fourth quarter, overall investment enquiries were flat in the London office sector. Although the UK market has largely recovered from its post-Brexit slump, London has underperformed the wider market, with some projects being put on hold, property companies cutting rental growth forecasts and rents beginning to stagnate.
December 20, 2016
A rise in the cost of renting commercial property in Bristol is being driven by increased demand from TMT, professional and energy occupiers looking for office space in the city, with take up levels of Bristol city centre offices predicted to reach 800,000 sq ft (74,322 sq m) in 2016. This is 50 percent above the five year average of 533,000 sq ft (49,517 sq m), according to Savills. This influx has resulted in a significant decrease in the supply of city centre Grade A stock, with levels currently at 117,116 sq ft (10,880 sq m). In order to cope with the demand landlords, particularly those with TMT tenants are refurbishing their offices, with the refurbishment/redevelopment pipeline at an estimated 300,000 sq ft (27,871 sq m). Savills notes that as a result of increased demand rental growth has been seen in both Grade A and B stock in Bristol. Refurbished office space is now reaching rents of £27 per sq ft (£291 per sq m) in Grade B stock, just below the headline rent of £28.50 per sq ft (£307 per sq m). It is predicted that in 2017 rents on Grade A space will reach and exceed £30 per sq ft (£323 per sq m).
December 14, 2016
London commercial property has managed to weather the Brexit storm with a late surge of City deals over the past three weeks set to see Central London take-up in line with its long-term average level of 10 million sq ft in 2016. According to the latest figures from JLL, despite take-up in Central London being subdued in the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the referendum, City take-up has surged during the last quarter, and is expected to reach 5.3 million sq ft by year end, just 6 percent below the long term average. This is offset by strong take-up in East London, where the recent deal to the GPU at Canary Wharf propelled take-up to 8 percent above its long term average level. The most notable deals of 2016 included – The Government Property Unit (GPUK) took 542,000 sq ft at 20 Cabot Square, E14 which was a sub-lease from Barclays; Apple pre-let 500,000 sq ft at Battersea Power Station, SW8 and will be paying a rent in the high £50 per sq ft; Thompson Reuters acquired 315,362 sq ft at 5 Canada Square, E14, paying a rent of £40 per sq ft; 33 Central, EC4 was pre-let to Wells Fargo who took the entire building, totalling 227,689 sq ft and New Look pre-leasing 127,096 sq ft at R7 Handyside Street, N1C for £77.50 per sq ft.
December 9, 2016
Major companies including Barclays and Vodafone were among more than 40 leading businesses, universities and business networks which pledged their support and backed the promotion of the Northern Powerhouse economy during a ’partnership’ conference held in Liverpool yesterday (8 December 2016). The North has over one million businesses, seven international airports and four of the world’s top universities, the conference heard. Its economy was worth £304 billion in 2014, similar to the whole of Belgium, while last year employment growth in the North East was the fastest in the UK. To help support the initiative a new dedicated Northern Powerhouse website has been launched to share the latest news, views and opportunities for established businesses and new investors. In addition, a Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme aims to encourage businesses to focus on the key strengths and areas of development across the North – from connectivity to transport, skills to science and from culture to devolution. more…
November 24, 2016
Changes in business rates announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement are likely to hit hardest the areas in the Capital such as Shoreditch and Fitzrovia where innovative tech companies are located, commented Jon Neale, head of UK Research, JLL. “The impact will no doubt undermine government plans to boost tech investment under its ‘Industrial Strategy’ announced earlier this week,” he said. “Meanwhile, office costs are high in London and post Brexit we need to minimise the risk that companies, will see cheaper continental cities such as Berlin as better bet place to set up shop.” He did add however that the promised “£1.3bn to improve roads and ease congestion is welcome and is likely to unlock development sites and promote economic development in many parts of the country. If the UK is to really address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, investment in infrastructure needs to be more ambitious as well as more focused on an increasingly digital, hi-tech future. Green and smart city technology, new tram and underground networks and truly high-speed broadband would help provide precisely the platform UK business needs.”
November 23, 2016
The UK Government is at last to invest properly in the next generation of technological infrastructure to ensure the company keeps pace with developments in broadband, the Internet of Things and 5G. It is to invite the country’s major cities to bid for a chance to pilot 5G from next year. The technology is a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) because it is up to a hundred times faster and more reliable than existing 4G connections. In turn, the IoT will boost the application of game changing technology such as driverless cars and smart building systems. Although the Government has recently focussed on headline physical projects such as HS2, it has come under sustained criticism for the country’s often creaking technological infrastructure.
November 15, 2016
Take-up of prime office space in central Manchester is on course to hit 1 million sq ft in 2016 and could be influenced by the impact of Brexit. The latest research by Colliers International suggests that overseas investors retained an interest in prime Manchester office space partly because of the devaluation of sterling following the Referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU – as proven by the recent £164m acquisition of the 288,000 sq ft One St Peter’s Square by global real estate investor Deka Immobilien. There have been a series of other major deals, including an insurance firm taking 165,000 sq ft of Grade A office scheme, a global law firm moving its global centre into an 80,848 sq ft development; and a government department negotiating a 60,000 sq ft deal. The legal sector accounted for almost 25 percent of total office take-up so far in 2016, followed by media and technology (16 percent) and business services (15 percent). However, all this activity may result in a lack of ready to occupy space in the city by early 2017.
November 8, 2016
The majority of UK cities and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas are now outperforming their pre-financial crisis peak, according to the latest 2016 Good Growth for Cities index, produced by PwC and the think-tank, Demos. However, a number of cities that have previously scored highly terms of jobs, incomes and business start-ups are beginning to experience growing pressures on housing affordability, transportation and work-life balance. The report also warns that the elements of the Good Growth index could be impacted by Brexit, with housing, jobs and income potentially seeing the largest effects. However, it also points to post-Brexit opportunities including revised trade relations and regulations and the potential of new markets beyond the EU. Published today, the fifth annual Good Growth for Cities index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships LEPs and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of categories defined by the public and business as key to local socio-economic success.
November 1, 2016
Contrary to the rather less positive outlook predicted for the whole of Scotland, office occupier take up in Edinburgh is on course to defy gloomy Brexit predictions, following a steady third quarter of 2016, according to new statistics published by JLL. In total, 134,462 sq ft of office space, spanning 44 deals, was transacted in Edinburgh between July and September, only marginally down on the previous quarter. Reflecting the rapid growth of Edinburgh’s booming TMT sector, tech companies have accounted for 30 percent of all Edinburgh office take up so far this year, followed by Professional Services at 21 percent. Total take-up for the year to date (Jan – Sept) reached 570,000 sq ft, just 5 per cent behind the transacted space recorded at the same point in 2015, a year which saw the capital’s highest take up since 2001. Responding to the rise of Edinburgh’s tech sector landlords are carrying out refurbishments aimed at appealing to this upcoming market, including Edinburgh’s largest single office building at One Lochrin Square and Greenside, a refurbishment proposed by the Chris Stewart Group.
October 25, 2016
The recent warning that the major banks are planning to leave the Capital following the Brexit vote has understandably caused some concern within the commercial property sector; so it’s cheering to hear that three in ten (30 percent) institutional investors actually believe Brexit will either increase or significantly increase European commercial real estate investment opportunities. A further one in four (23 percent) institutional investors believe that Brexit will have no impact on commercial real estate investment opportunities. According to a new study by BrickVest, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, nearly two in five (38 percent) institutional real estate investors cited London as the top European city to invest in commercial real estate, ahead of Berlin (36 percent), Munich (31 percent) and Paris (22 percent). However, one in five (21 percent) cited both Dublin and Hamburg and a further 16 percent selected Frankfurt, highlighting a clear positive trend towards German commercial real estate. Indeed 40 percent of the top ten European cities were German.
October 18, 2016
Although the UK economy has shown a measure of resilience post referendum, take-up in the key London office market, although still on a quarter to quarter rise of 34 percent, is 7 percent below its long term average. According to the latest London Office Snapshot from Colliers, transactions were largely boosted by major deals to Apple (500,000 sq ft) and Wells Fargo (220,000 sq ft), with both deals for new headquarters buildings, in Battersea and the City core respectively, being a major vote of confidence for London. In the City, the level of take-up demonstrated some positivity as it rose by 8 per cent quarter on quarter, though the quarterly take up is still 26 percent below average. Though pre-letting activity was healthy, doubling quarter on quarter, West End take-up was disappointingly subdued in the third quarter, falling further from the already sharply below trend Q2 total. Encouragingly, a number of deals that were seemingly ‘mothballed’ post referendum have now been concluded, albeit at marginally lower price points.
October 13, 2016
Think Tank New London Architecture (NLA) which creates a forum for debate on the built environment, has launched its findings and recommendations from its landmark WRK / LDN Insight study on work and workplaces in London. NLA calls on central government, the Mayor of London and other stakeholders in the capital to act to maintain the capital’s position as a preeminent commercial centre. The report claims that, as the digital economy continues to expand, new suppliers of workspace are rapidly emerging – from co-working providers to ‘fab labs’, makerspaces, incubators and innovation centres. The insight study concludes that the affordable business space that currently supports these industries is at risk. London needs new innovative mixed-use models of city planning to support these changes and adapt to the changing world of work.