October 13, 2015
Investment in commercial property is at its highest level worldwide since the 2008 downturn, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. The firm’s annual Winning in Growth Cities report claims that global investment levels increased by 16 percent in the year to June 2015 to stand at US$942.8 billion. The report suggests that global volumes will rise 17 percent over the next twelve months to hit a new record high of $1.1 trillion. Growth will be led again by markets in North America and Europe with patchy levels of investment worldwide. This has already led to the world’s top 25 ‘gateway cities’ in terms of investment increase their market share from 51 percent to 53 percent with cities like New York remaining attractive locations for foreign investors.London was the second largest market overall but top for foreign investors, while Tokyo, Los Angeles and San Francisco made up the rest of the top five.
October 6, 2015
The commercial property markets in the world’s major cities are evolving against a backdrop of ongoing economic and political uncertainty, according to the new 12 Cities Report from Savills. The authors suggest that the main consequence of this since 2008 has been for investors to switch their focus from paper assets to property. This in turn has led to a number of developments in local commercial property markets including global investors looking for alternatives to the major cities within key national economies. One of the key developments is that major tech firms are now willing to spend as much on their real estate as the previously dominant financial giants. One other interesting issue raised in the report is the growing inability of people to afford to live and work in the same place, especially in cities with restrictions on the amount of space available for development.
September 23, 2015
Activity in Europe’s commercial property markets is at its highest level since 2007, according to a new report from Knight Frank. Transaction volumes hit €104.9 billion in the first half of 2015, an increase of nearly a third on the previous year, while investment for the whole of 2015 is forecast to exceed €230 billion. The study claims that these increases are being felt in local markets across Europe, with the two largest markets in the UK and Germany performing especially strongly, accounting for around a half of total investment. There were also major improvements in levels of investment Italy and Portugal as well as more activity in both Spain and Ireland (above). However, the report concedes that rental growth remain ‘patchy’ across the continent but forecasts that this will improve as pressure grows on the availability of space in major cities like Paris.
September 15, 2015
The 2013 introduction of new laws which allow greater scope for the conversion of UK offices to residential use is now beginning to have a major impact on the commercial property market, according to a new report from the British Council for Offices (BCO). According to the study, which focuses in particular detail on London and Bristol, more than 6 million sq. ft. of office space was converted to residential use last year following the launch of Permitted Development Right (PDR). This is likely to increase dramatically over the next few years, especially in the capital. A report published last year by Lambert Smith Hampton claimed that there had been a huge leap in applications following the introduction of the new laws and the BCO study confirms the existence of pent up demand from the number of approved schemes yet to be implemented.
September 10, 2015
The recent growth in prime headline office rents has continued across the UK’s regional commercial property markets with an average increase of 4.3 percent across the UK’s ‘Core 8’ markets in the 12 months to June 2015, according to a report from property consultants JLL. The Core 8 cities are the UK’s largest metropolitan economies and are a distinct group from the Government’s definition of core cities. In the JLL study they comprise Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds (above), Manchester, London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Reflecting the solid outlook for demand and tight supply of new space, the report claims that headline rents are expected to continue on an upward curve with average growth of 2.9 percent per year in the Core 8 region over the period. One of the key drivers for rent growth remains a mismatch between demand and supply. more…
September 10, 2015
The naming and shaming of Britain’s most overcrowded trains in a new report from the Department of Transport highlights the uncomfortable journey many workers have to endure every day. This is why a significant number of commuters long to be cyclists, according to recent research from Aviva, which found more than half of those who cycle to work said they arrive refreshed after their commute. Just 1 in 10 car and bus users claimed the same thing and that figure dropped to 1 in 20 for train and tube passengers. Almost a quarter of cyclists (24 percent) also reported feeling motivated after their typical commute, scoring higher than any other common form of commuting, including walking. This is double the proportion of bus passengers (12 percent) who claimed that their commute improved their motivation levels, and triple the proportion of drivers (8 percent) and four times the proportion of train and tube users (6 percent).
September 9, 2015
Newly published research claims that investing in public and low emission transport, building efficiency, and waste management in cities could generate worldwide savings of US$17 trillion by 2050. The Global Commission on Economy and Climate, an independent organisation comprising former finance ministers and leading research institutions from Britain and six other countries, found climate-smart cities would spur economic growth and a better quality of life – at the same time as cutting carbon pollution. These investments could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2e per year by 2030, more than the current annual emissions of India. With complementary national policies such as support for low-carbon innovation, reduced fossil fuel subsidies, and carbon pricing, the savings could be as high as US$22 trillion according to the report.
August 24, 2015
According to the latest quarterly update from property advisors Knight Frank, demand for commercial office space in the UK’s regional markets remains remarkably strong, driving upward pressure on rental prices and increasing the demand for new commercial property developments. According to the report, demand is up by around a half compared to the previous quarter, with Birmingham enjoying the largest increase of around 400 percent. Strong economic growth is reflected in healthy occupier demand, which saw a total of 2.08m sq ft taken up in the three months to the end of June, which was 51 percent ahead of the first quarter and 49 percent above the five year quarterly average. The stand out let was HSBC’s at Birmingham’s Arena Central development (top) which accounted for fully half of the city’s take up of space and which we reported here.
August 18, 2015
The Government should introduce new policies to incentivise people to car share and travel further afield to find work. Those are two of the key finding of a new report, On The Move, from the think tank Policy Exchange which sets out ways to improve the mobility of the British workforce. Making it easier for people to commute twenty minutes further afield would put them in touch with at least one additional major urban area and potentially 10,000 more job opportunities, according to the report. Additionally, it suggests that drivers who offer fellow commuters a lift should be given a tax break. The authors claim that in a third of local authorities that make up the eight city regions no major employment sites (defined as having 5,000 or more jobs) are within a twenty minute commute by public transport and 80 percent of these Local Authorities have an unemployment rate above the national average.
July 29, 2015
Employers in the City of London are increasingly open to the idea of flexible working, claims a study of 1,000 workers by recruitment firm Astbury Marsden. According to the study, a third of men working in the City (34 percent) say they now have some flexibility over the hours they work, whether through flexi-time, working a certain number of hours annually or compressed hours. This is up from 28 percent last year. Meanwhile a smaller proportion of female City workers (30 percent) claim they now have the option of flexible working, up from 23 percent in 2014. The research indicates that although women in the City are more likely than men to work part-time or term-time hours or job-share, with over a quarter being able to do so (26 percent), almost one in five men (18 percent) say they also have this option available to them.
July 9, 2015
London’s Financial Times reported this morning, “The worst London Underground strike in more than a decade saw millions of Londoners struggle to get to work”. It is chaos, here in the UK capital – the top global city in PwC’s Cities of Opportunity ranking. It is a sorry state of affairs, as in a scene reminiscent of 1970s union-crippled Britain, the “workers” representatives couldn’t agree with “the management”. “Workers” and “management”…we thought we had overcome that particular divide in business and society, didn’t we? But, some people have a vested interest in keeping it very much alive. In the large, industrialized, unionized industries such as transport, it lives on. Only last year, UNITE union leader Len McCluskey addressed his supporters in Liverpool as “sisters and brothers” like some mid-20th century socialist (which, of course, he is).
July 9, 2015
As if there aren’t enough reasons to dislike tall buildings already, two news stories drop into our inbox this week which add to the growing charge sheet against these phallic assaults on our senses and sensibilities. According to the first story, it appears that the recent proliferation of towers in London not only means that the city looks more and more like Chicago, it is functioning more like it too. There are a growing number of complaints from the public about the winds that whip around the bases of the capital’s protrusions which were ‘unforeseen by planners’, according to a report in Building magazine. Meanwhile, developers in Melbourne have made the civilisation-ending announcement that the design of a new mixed use skyscraper in the city is based on a Beyoncé music video and make particular reference to the shape of the artist’s backside.
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