September 29, 2016
The level of transparency in the reporting of the environmental performance of commercial real estate is growing across the world, but the pace of new sustainable building regulations remains slow. That is the key finding of JLL’s Real Estate Environmental Sustainability Index, which measures the availability of a range of environmental transparency tools in 37 countries. Whilst 17 countries have improved their overall scores since the last survey two years ago, 13 have remained static and three have declined. Half of all country index improvements have been driven by the introduction of voluntary minimum energy efficiency standards for existing buildings. This year France topped the Index for the first time, thanks to the consistent roll-out of mandates to transition to a low carbon economy. Japan has moved up from the transparent group to join France, Australia and the UK in the highly transparent group.
September 28, 2016
Apple has confirmed the rumours that began in the Spring of this year by announcing that it is to relocate its UK headquarters from its current base in the West End along with several other sites to the redeveloped Battersea Power Station. The site’s developers say that Apple will become the largest office tenant at the £9 billion Battersea Power Station mixed use development occupying approximately 500,000 sq. ft. across 6 floors of the central Boiler House inside the iconic building. Apple is expected to move into the Power Station in 2021 at which time the office will account for circa 40 percent of the total office space in the whole development. 1400 Apple employees from existing offices around London will relocate to one of London’s best known landmarks. Apple has added, that this is a great opportunity to have its entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.
September 28, 2016
The UK’s commercial property market remains robust in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, although a weaker economic outlook may see some prices dip over the next two years, ratings agency Moody’s claims in a new report. The news comes as commercial property fund Standard Life announced that it has reopened trading, which was suspended in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. Moody’s said that the June 23 vote still has the potential to create significant uncertainty in the longer term, but that the fundamentals underpinning the UK commercial property market remain sound. Much will depend on the country’s broader economic prospects, Moody’s claims. If unemployment remains low and jobs growth continues, these two factors will do much to maintain demand for both domestic and commercial property although London’s market may be affected even if the national economy is robust, as firms may choose to relocate anyway.
September 27, 2016
The UK’s major cities are lagging behind their European competitors in terms of skills, innovation and productivity, claims a new report from the Centre for Cities think tank. In Competing with the Continent, the authors argue that the onus is on the UK to come up to speed with the 330 cities covered in the report, especially if they want to compete in the new post Brexit European landscape. However, the report notes that the UK has a number of existing, structural advantages over other countries. UK cities generate around a fifth of Europe’s total economic output and contribute more to the national economy than cities in other countries. Major British cities contribute 60 percent of national GDP, compared to just 36 percent in Germany and 32 percent in Italy. The report shows that UK cities lag behind on a range of indicators including skills, innovation and productivity and a number have an industrial mix that has more in common with cities in Eastern Europe than those in the West.
September 19, 2016
Start-up tech firms in London face the world’s highest property costs and the result is a boom in coworking, according to a report from Knight Frank. The research, undertaken as part of Knight Frank’s 2017 Global Cities Report, examines the cost of leasing and fitting-out 600 sq ft of office space in the tech and creative districts of the world’s leading cities. Intense demand for space in Shoreditch, London, has seen start-up office costs soar with Knight Frank calculating 600 sq ft of office space to cost US$66,706 per year – the highest of any creative district in the world. This is followed by Brooklyn in New York (US$62,736), Mid-Market in San Francisco (US$61,680), 1st, 2nd and 9th Districts in Paris (US$57,426) and the Seaport District in Boston (US$50,700). However, London’s burgeoning coworking market also shows how firms are using the model to overcome the challenge of finding somewhere to work at an appropriate cost.
September 14, 2016
A much publicised but occasionally troubled green city in the United Arab Emirates without light switches or water taps has much to teach people around the world about saving energy and precious resources, claims a new study from researchers at Birmingham University. With its low-rise and energy efficient buildings, smart metering, excellent public transport and extensive use of renewable energy, the 2,000 citizens of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, are living in a place which is a ‘green’ example to city planners around the globe, claims the report. There are no light switches or water taps in Masdar City. Movement sensors control lighting and water in order to cut electricity and water consumption by 51 percent and 55 percent respectively. Masdar is a mixed use development that is the world’s first city designed to be ‘zero carbon’ and ‘zero waste’. Masdar City is a large-scale mixed use development which lies 17 kilometres south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi.
September 14, 2016
London’s property sector has been resilient following the EU referendum, with commercial property rents remaining strong over the summer, though over the next few months the overall direction of the market is likely to become clearer. This is according to the latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey, which has found that businesses want the city’s mayor to play a leading role in influencing Brexit negotiations, particularly in driving improvements to the city’s transport infrastructure. Two thirds (67 percent) wish to see upgrades to the existing London Underground network, whilst over a half (55 percent) want a commitment from City Hall to start building Crossrail 2 and one third (31 percent) hope for greater investment in the capital’s road network. Unsurprisingly, uncertainty over the UK’s role in the EU is the most significant cause for concern (75 percent of firms), followed by retaining the best people for the job (49 percent) and a lack of appropriately skilled staff (44 percent).
September 13, 2016
The future of London is the subject of a new and wide ranging collection of essays from Think Tank Localis. It includes contributions from the likes of Boris Johnson, Terry Farrell, Peter Bazalgette and Justine Roberts. Its core theme is that while London has established itself as one of the world’s great financial and cultural powerhouses over the last thirty years, it now faces a number of new challenges and intransigent problems that it must address in a new globalised era. These have taken on a new perspective as the UK prepares to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, something which the report repeats was not the choice of Londoners, but which did perhaps reveal a neglect of the rest of the UK as the Government focused too much attention and investment on the capital. So, while the report focuses on London it also tries to create a vision of a London better integrated with the needs of the rest of the UK and based on a new partnership with the EU.
September 6, 2016
Blink and you’ll miss some news item on Brexit, so here’s just some of the stuff we’ve picked up on the last few days. It’s hard to imagine that any of these stories might be woven into some sort of coherent narrative, especially when the Prime Minister has yet to announce any details or timescales for the UK’s mooted withdrawal from the EU, if not the Single Market. Some of the ifs and buts are laid out in this excellent blog, but the reality is that nobody really knows what will happen and, as the writer suggests, the UK may not have the expertise to deliver a coherent withdrawal anyway. In the meantime, there appears to be some sense that business is returning to normal. The key CIPS/Markit survey of business confidence has bounced back both quickly and strongly and there are other signs that not all is doom and gloom. That said, there are clear signs that overseas partners are spooked amid the uncertainty even though the still low Sterling exchange rate continues to make the UK attractive.
September 5, 2016
Most Londoners think tall buildings should only be built in areas like the City and Canary Wharf, and that there should be limits on how high they can be, according to an IPSOS Mori survey carried out on behalf of the Skyline Campaign. The findings come after Westminster Council controversially gave the green light for a 30 storey tower to be built in Paddington, and show stark differences in the views of Londoners in the inner and outer boroughs about how this new generation of tall buildings is affecting the Capital. The survey of more than 500 Londoners finds almost half (49 percent) of residents of inner London boroughs think that the 270 tall buildings planned, proposed, or under construction in London is too many. This contrasts with 34 percent of people in outer boroughs who say the same. Latest data released after the research was conducted indicates more than 400 new tall buildings are planned, proposed or under construction.
September 5, 2016
Our aim at BESA is to raise awareness about indoor air quality and encourage more people to be mindful of the best solutions for particular buildings and building types to ultimately promote a healthy workplace environment. The BESA revealed the results of a recent YouGov survey (released on 17 August 2016), which looked into views of office workers and their attitudes toward indoor air pollution in office environments across the UK. The aim of the study was to illustrate attitudes, behaviours and perceptions in order to understand how office workers feel, think and act. Our survey, combined with our ongoing research and collaborations, shows us that opening a window isn’t always the most effective solution to accessing ‘fresh air’ in offices. BESA wholeheartedly agree with Mark Eltringham’s comment that clean, fresh air, is the best way to ventilate a workplace environment. Our survey was commissioned to highlight that in the urban, office environment, this is not always possible.
August 18, 2016
There has been a reduction in demand for office space in Dubai over the past six months, as the ripple effect of the oil price collapse and the subsequent economic slowdown in the rest of the Gulf reverberates across the emirate’s commercial property market. As firms retrench staff and reconsider their future strategy in the wake of global economic challenges, decisions to acquire, expand or move office space have commonly been put on hold according to Cluttons’ latest Dubai Office Market Bulletin. This has resulted in an exaggeration of the seasonal summer slowdown throughout late Q2 and early Q3 2016. Cluttons’ research also highlights that, the general lack of rental growth is unlikely to change in the short-term. Across the market as a whole, rents are not expected to fall much further, particularly as they are at a point where they are considered to be fair market value and landlords appear unwilling to lease below a certain level.