Property and Construction
October 18, 2016
Technology doesn’t just transform the world, it reshapes our language. So, we all need to get used to the word uberification as well as the idea of it. Based on the success of the on demand taxi service Uber, the word refers to the way a product or service becomes available to customers on demand via the Internet. Customers book a service only at the point of consumption. This represents an entirely new commercial model and is the defining characteristic of the new 21st Century economy. Uber may have provided the tipping point, going from start up to market valuation of $66 billion in just 7 years, but its success has given us a name for a process that is reshaping businesses and customer experiences across the entire economy, including in the commercial property sector.
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.
October 13, 2016
Thanks to the combination of a changing workforce and greater connectivity, up to 30 percent of corporate real estate portfolios will incorporate flexible workspaces by 2030, with offices more likely to be built around core hubs and comprising fewer locations. Along with this the Internet of Things and smart buildings will create new ways of managing productivity, sustainability and the user experience. These are some of the key findings of JLL’s new report series ‘Workspace, reworked: ride the wave of tech driven change’; two reports exploring the impact of technology, data and digital disruption on work spaces and real estate investment strategies. The series focuses on the office sector over the next 15 years, looking at how occupiers, developers and investors will need to view real estate differently and adapt in order to enhance investment returns and create work spaces that are fit for purpose in a rapidly changing, highly-connected world.
October 12, 2016
The UK Government has announced that it is to further extend its groundbreaking One Public Sector Estate scheme which supports local authorities and public sector bodies in the sharing and divestment of underutilised property. The Cabinet Office and Local Government Association have issued a joint announcement that 159 councils will join the next phase of the One Public Estate programme and that £7.5 million has been awarded to 37 partnerships made up of councils and public sector bodies. The funding will support cross public sector partnerships to work collaboratively on land and property initiatives leading to new jobs, new homes, joined up public services and savings for the taxpayer. The programme was initially launched in 2013 and has been extended to a number of local authorities and public sector bodies since
October 6, 2016
The UK Government will this week start the latest tendering process for the Estates Professional Services framework. Originally set up in 2008, the framework covers all central and local government property as the administration sets to rationalise and modernise the country’s entire public sector property estate and help to reduce the £8 billion annual spend. The terms of the framework were updated in an August 2016 briefing, laying out a series of case studies highlighting best practice as well as offering guidance t those firms who wish to bid for work across a range of product and service delivery models. The last set of contracts for services are due to expire in March 2017 and the Government remains committed to the inclusion of smaller providers. The framework covers a range of property-related services, including the reduction and divestment of parts of the estate, the renegotiation of leases, a reduction in running costs, support for the government’s sustainability agenda and the facilitation of flexible working and property sharing initiatives.
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 27, 2016
This month, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairbairn, suggested that productivity growth across all parts of the UK economy should be the number one priority for business and government. And the CBI isn’t alone in emphasising the importance of honing in on and tackling the ongoing productivity problem. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) economic forecast summary, published earlier this summer, productivity has been exceptionally weak since 2007 and doesn’t show much sign of abating nearly ten years later. Labour productivity per employee has failed to markedly rise since the global downturn and the UK is still miles behind the G7 average – that’s according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly figures and CBI data. So, to echo Fairbairn, reviving British productivity is essential to sustain growth and living standards.
September 27, 2016
Despite largely voting to remain in the EU, the Brexit vote hasn’t dampened the short or long term confidence of UK CEOs. It has however raised a question mark over the UK’s ability to do business and, as a result, many are putting together contingencies including the possible relocating offices or operations, according to KPMG’s first ‘100 UK CEOs’ survey. The survey of CEOs from companies with revenues ranged between £100 million and £1bn found that, both in the short term (the next year) and the medium term (the next three years), the majority are confident about the future growth of the country, the global economy and their own businesses. However, over half believe the UK’s ability to do effective business will be hindered after leaving the EU. The majority of CEOs felt that a division in society between ‘big business’ and the general public contributed to the EU referendum result, including over a third who believed this ‘to a great extent’.