June 8, 2016
With urban areas accounting for up to two-thirds of the potential to reduce global carbon emissions, cities must take the lead in the transition to low-carbon energy, says the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its annual report. Offering long-term pathways that could limit the global temperature increase to no more than 2°C, in line with the goals set at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, the report suggests that the most cost-effective approach involves deploying low-carbon options in cities, especially in emerging and developing economies. Because buildings provide useful space to self-generate the electricity they consume: by 2050, rooftop solar could technically meet one-third of electricity demand. Such buildings offer significant demand potential for the roll-out of the most efficient technologies, like energy-efficient windows and appliances. However, international collaboration is essential, claims the report.
June 1, 2016
A relentless drive to cut costs is forcing financial services occupiers to focus on reducing real estate costs and adopting strategies to use their space more efficiently in Central London. According to research from CBRE there has been an ongoing move by big banks to relocate non-core functions outside of Central London, as seen in HSBC’s decision to move 1,000 head office staff from London to Birmingham. However despite the inherent challenges, banks continue to cite client needs, recruitment, profile and presence as key reasons to keep office space in the Capital. This is reflected in last year’s leasing figures with banking and finance occupiers leasing 3.2m sq ft, 4.9 percent above the 10-year average. There are a variety of compromises companies may make as part of rationalisation strategies to maintain their position in London. Consolidation is an ongoing trend. But it is not a one size fits all approach.
May 27, 2016
Canary Wharf has outperformed the Central London office market during the past 12 months, with rental growth reaching 26.7 percent, ahead of Mayfair and St James’. It seems Canary Wharf’s high quality purpose built space, coupled with its relative affordability when compared to the rest of London, has helped attract significant deals in recent months. The most notable deal during Q1 was Thomson Reuters take up of 300,000sq ft in St Martin’s 5 Canada Square. Faisal Durrani, Cluttons head of research, explained, “It was only a matter of time before the area began to draw in occupiers, particularly from the City and City fringes. It’s a market that has undersold itself and its full potential is yet to be realised but we may be approaching a significant turning point in its attractiveness. In recent months, the Central London market has experienced Brexit nervousness and general settling of the market but Canary Wharf has bucked this trend.”
May 25, 2016
The acid test for any survey of the attitudes and experiences of Millennials is whether you could replace its findings with those for another generation and come up with broadly the same results. The answer is very often ‘yes’, which can generally be explained by pointing out that, contrary to what you may have heard, Millennials are people too and not the Midwich Cuckoos. So, here we have a survey from an organisation called YouthfulCities which claims that Millennials living in the world’s major cities are concerned about the high cost of housing, employment opportunities, inadequate infrastructure, crime and their personal happiness. Just like everybody else then. Except that the conclusion the survey draws is that cities need to become more ‘youthful’. Presumably in exactly the same way that office occupiers are routinely told that they need to create youthful workplaces, which is not only patronising to Millennials but also ignores the fact they’re not the only people there.
May 18, 2016
Game changing technology doesn’t come any more disruptive than driverless vehicles. The problem is that we may find the whole idea easy to dismiss based on our past experiences of this sort of thing. Autonomous vehicles carry the whiff of Tomorrow’s World about them, yet they are about to go mainstream far sooner than we might think and their advent will have a major impact on the way we work and live. Both Ford and BMW have announced they intend to have fully autonomous vehicles on the roads within five years. That doesn’t mean the test models that are already on the roads but commercially available vehicles; Volvo will have 100 customers in Sweden and the UK using the vehicles next year. Tesla claims its cars will be driverless in two years. And it’s not just car makers who are intent on grabbing a share of this new market but computer makers like Google and Apple as well as sharing economy pioneers like Uber.
May 17, 2016
There are plenty of good reasons to believe that London’s Central office market has hit its peak. Rents are at an all-time high in the majority of core office locations and whilst the start of 2016 has seen rents rise, there is certainly a clear steadying of the pace. According to our own data, the Landlord’s quoted rents for offices across the entire Central London market. Core offices such as Mayfair and St James’s have reached levels of £150 per square foot (pfs) in Q1 2016 compared with £120 per square foot in Q1 2015 a rise of 25 percent in 12 months. That does sound excessive, until this is compared with the rises seen East of the city in so called ‘fringe markets’ of Clerkenwell, Old Street and Shoreditch. Here the rents have become eye watering. In Q1 2015, the prime quoting rent in Shoreditch had reached £55 psf. In Q1 2016, this number had reached £75 psf highlighting an increase in 12 months of over 35 percent.
May 17, 2016
A chronic shortage of Grade A office space, especially those offering floor plates of over 10,000 sq ft in Belfast city means there is a growing acceptance in the market that Grade A rents need to continue to grow to encourage speculative development. This is due to the markets failure to provide suitable options within the City Core, finds the latest Belfast Offices Snapshot from Colliers. This lack of Grade A office stock Belfast has seen two well established Foreign Direct Investment companies (Allstate and Concentrix) bridge the gap from occupier to developer to secure their optimal property solution. However, the Belfast office market experienced a lower level of transactional activity in 2015 than expected. Take-up figures in 2015 totalled c.310,000 sq ft with the inclusion of the new c.100,000 sq ft Belfast City Council headquarters and therefore some way off the 2013 and 2014 take-up figures of 425,000 sq ft and 375,000 sq ft respectively.
May 12, 2016
Office construction in the Capital is at its highest level for eight years, according to Deloitte’s latest London Office Crane report, which measures the volume of office development taking place across central London. Recognising that the low supply of available office space across central London offers a limited choice for tenants, developers have responded by starting a record number of new schemes since the last survey. The latest results show that the volume of office construction has increased by 28 percent over the past six months to 14.2 million sq ft the highest level since the beginning of 2008. In just 18 months activity nearly doubled from 7.7 million sq ft in 2014. The financial sector has leased the largest share of office space under construction in the latest results, accounting for 2.3 million sq ft, or 39% of the let space while currently accounting for 38 percent of the space let, the TMT sector is a leading occupier group.
May 11, 2016
Given the level of uncertainty around June’s Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the £11.9bn invested into commercial real estate during the first three months of 2016 appeared robust. However, 50 percent of Q1’s volume was in January, with the data from Lambert Smith Hampton showing that activity tapered off significantly in the following two months. Anecdotal evidence clearly linked the slowdown directly to the approaching vote. As a result there was a significant fall in activity, which translated into a very quiet quarter for Central London Offices, where volume halved quarter-on-quarter to £2.2bn, the lowest quarterly total since the last part of 2011. Given that financial services is widely regarded as the most exposed sector to a possible ‘Brexit’, this sector appears to have suffered most from investor caution.In marked contrast, investment in the rest of UK Offices has remained buoyant at £1.4bn, the highest quarterly total since the middle of 2007.
May 9, 2016
The smart city is the poster child for the new era of immersive digital living, but the British public remains ‘clueless or indifferent’ about the nature of smart cities and what they will mean for their lives, according to a new report entitled: Smart Cities – Time to involve the people published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The report claims that only 18 per cent of the British public has heard of a ‘smart city’ and many are unaware that city-wide technologies could improve the quality of life in urban areas. One third of respondents were unable to select the correct definition of a smart city from a list of options. Eight per cent of respondents opted for “a city that has a higher than average proportion of universities and colleges and aims to attract the most intellectual”. And a further five per cent saw it as “a city that has a strict cleaning regime for its buildings, roads and public places”.
May 5, 2016
We might all welcome London’s success as a thriving centre of commerce and culture, but this comes at a price and we need to look for a better balance than we currently see between London and the rest of the UK. Of course London is often the main victim of its own success. Its thriving tech and creative firms continue to spill out of the incubator districts created for them to find cheaper and more appropriate spaces in which to grow. In doing so they are pushing up rents in such unlikely nearby places as Croydon. In the traditional business districts in the City and Docklands, the capital’s tech giants are now able to compete for the first time for some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. To cope with demand, the Mayor is rubberstamping tall buildings like never before, many of them bloody awful, unloved by Londoners and heritage organisations alike, transforming the skyline and creating windswept, arid tundra at their feet.
May 4, 2016
Demand for office space in the UK regional office markets has remained strong for the first quarter of this year, despite uncertainties surrounding a potential Brexit. A total of 1,381,350 sq ft of office space was taken in the ‘Big 6’ regional cities in the Jan-April period, just marginally below the final quarter performance of 2015 but 27 percent higher than the five quarterly average, CBRE has revealed. The leading cities in terms of year-to-date take-up are Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with total volumes of around the 285,000 sq ft mark in each of these three cities. All of these markets have substantially outperformed their five year quarterly average and have each supported a strong level of pre-letting activity. In the case of Glasgow, the volume for the beginning of 2016 has been twice the quarterly average. The strong start in this market is the result of Morgan Stanley signing a large pre-let for 154,814 sq ft at the first phase of Bothwell Exchange.