June 22, 2016
UK cities have dropped down the ranking in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey this year as Brexit fears weaken the value of the Pound, whilst the Euro stays strong against the Dollar. Although the UK’s capital remains in the top 20 costliest cities worldwide, London (17) has dropped five places, whereas Aberdeen (85) and Birmingham (96) have fallen seven and 16 places respectively. Further down the list, (119) has dropped 10 places and Belfast (134) three. The survey finds that factors including currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices, have all contributed to the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments. Mercer’s survey covers 209 cities across five continents with Hong Kong ranking highest, pushing Luanda to second place. Ranking 3rd, Zurich is the most expensive European city, followed by Singapore (4) and Tokyo (5).
June 21, 2016
The continuing imbalance between the supply and demand for office space throughout London is resulting in a shift in the balance of negotiating power away from tenants, according to the latest London Office Update from Carter Jonas. Rents across Central London have, on average, risen by over 50 percent over the last five years in the West End, Midtown and South Bank office markets, and by over 30 percent in the City of London. Rent free periods have typically fallen by up to six months over the same period. In the next 18-24 months, the trend will continue to be higher rents and shorter rent free periods as availability remains low. While some occupiers may leave London altogether, others may adopt a ‘spoke and hub’ strategy, whereby back office functions relocate to peripheral, lower cost, areas while ‘client facing’ operations are retained in Central London. This prediction assumes that Britain rejects Brexit however, and there are no major economic shocks.
June 18, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham says we must question the idea that there is one ideal form of office; and argues events such as Clerkenwell Design Week wouldn’t function unless there was some consensus on what constitutes good and bad design. The supply of flexible workspace in London outstrips conventional office space; emerging technologies will create more organic workspace; and employees thrive in a workplace that is sensitive to their needs and well-being. Women who work long hours could be damaging their health; the UK remains in the grip of a digital skills crisis; people welcome the idea of robot help and the IEA says cities can contribute to a cut in carbon emissions. You can download our Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, on the boundless office; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
June 16, 2016
The UK market for flexible workspace has grown 11 percent in just the last 12 months. The main driver of the upsurge is inevitably London, which saw the biggest increase of flexible space at 16 percent and now represents a third of the whole UK market. According to the new research by The Instant Group, traditional occupier inquiries for London grew at a lower rate (nine percent), meaning the supply of flexible workspace in London has outstripped conventional office space by some margin over the last year; a trend the report suggests that seems set to continue into the future. Double digit growth for flexible workspace was also been seen across the UK’s regions, with suburban locations seeing some of the UK’s most aggressive growth in terms of workstation rates and inquiries, despite a 12.5 percent increase in supply, as occupiers have chosen cheaper locations with good transport links over the highly competitive market in central London.
June 15, 2016
Edinburgh is the most attractive British location for commercial property investment outside of London, according to new research by law firm and real estate consultancy Morton Fraser. Research amongst investors by the law firm’s commercial real estate division ranks a list of ten British cities outside of London according to their attractiveness as investment options. Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester are the most appealing regional locations for investors, based on an indexed score of how many more investors found them attractive propositions compared to those who did not. However, the remaining seven cities did not appeal to the majority of investors, with more rating them an unattractive investment proposition rather than an appealing one. Aberdeen is rated the least attractive location for investors, coming after its energy-dependent economy was hit by falling oil prices, leading to thousands of job losses and the contraction of the oil and gas industry.
June 15, 2016
London’s City Fringe market, the once ‘cheap’ office location of Central London has matured into a leading global tech address and, with a number of new mixed use developments underway and more planned, its success is set to continue. According to data from Savills, average Grade A rents in the area have increased by 87 percent in the last six years with the best new office space now trading at a discount of only 3.5 percent to the same quality of building in the City Core (a saving of circa. £1 per sq ft). According to Savills research, the first quarter of 2016 saw average Grade A rents in the City Fringe reach £59.42 per sq ft (compared to £61.60 per sq ft for non-tower Grade A office buildings in the City Core). This pattern is accelerated by new office developments including Derwent’s White Collar Factory and Helical Bar / Crosstree’s Bower Development, both EC1, and key deals to Adobe, BGL Group, Stripe Limited and CBS Interactive.
June 10, 2016
MediaCityUK, best known as the new home of the BBC, is to double in size over the next decade under ambitious plans submitted to Salford City Council. Up to ten new buildings are envisaged with a development value of more than £1 billion. Key features of phase two of MediaCityUK include 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft) of offices, 1,800 apartments, retail and leisure, complemented by public spaces with a pedestrian promenade running through the scheme. Outline approval for the plans was granted in 2006. A condition of that permission was that detailed proposals, including all building designs and specifications, needed to be brought forward this year. The plans are expected to be considered by Salford’s planning panel in September. MediaCityUK is a joint venture between Peel Land and Property and Legal and General Capital, who share a long-term commitment to the further expansion of a creative and digital hub which already houses 250 businesses including the BBC, ITV, dock10, Ericsson and SIS.
June 9, 2016
Partly due to the uncertainty leading up to the EU referendum, employment intentions within Financial and Business Services (FBS) have slowed, but rental growth within the commercial property sector should remain healthy, particularly if the ‘remain’ vote prevails, the latest Real Estate investment forecasts from Colliers has revealed. Offices will continue to drive rental growth across the commercial property sector and it’s expected that rents will rise by 6.8 percent this year and average 3.9 percent in 2016-2020. Although it’s slowed a little, Central London will continue to attract demand and push the overall rate up, with a still strong growth of 8.4 percent in 2016. In addition, the artificial barriers between individual London ‘villages’ are increasingly breaking down, creating a fluid market for office occupiers in the capital, with more options for geographical relocations and expansions. This will continue to benefit the Rest of London, which is expected to see rents increase by 8.1 percent this year.
June 8, 2016
It is telling that one of the first issues to be addressed by incoming London Mayor Saddiq Khan is the problem the capital’s thriving startups have in simply finding a place to work. Although the measures outlined in the new London Plan are aimed primarily at addressing London’s housing crisis, they also include measures to deal with the reduction in the amount of viable office space available following the relaxation of planning rules which allow developers to more easily switch existing office stock to residential use. The costs of office space in London is a growing concern for all sectors, but falls especially hard on startups. According to a recent study by SpareOffice, even the use of coworking space is an issue, with average monthly fees of £357 per person. Now the mayor has announced that he will put new measures in place to help protect and expand office space for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in London.
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.”