London offices still in demand despite Brexit no-deal fears

| Shariq Khan and Arathy Nair 15 Nov 2018

Demand for new office space in London will continue even with the imminent exit of UK from the European Union, a recent industry survey showed, with technology, media and telecom companies taking up most spaces.

The London office market remains resilient despite the slow pace of Brexit negotiations and growing speculation about a no-deal weighing heavily on business sentiment, the London Office Crane Survey by Deloitte Real Estate showed.

"Development pipeline remains above average, suggesting stable office construction levels," Deloitte said in the report, adding that developer sentiment was positive with above average new construction activity.

"There is a healthy balance with a strong occupier demand and half of the office space under construction is already committed to," said Mike Cracknell, the director of capital projects advisory team at Deloitte.

Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019. It remains unclear whether Prime Minister Theresa May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.

The survey echoed property consultancy Knight Frank's report last month, which showed that office take-up in central London was 6 percent higher in the third quarter than a year earlier as businesses shrugged off Brexit uncertainty.

Some of the biggest central London property deals in the third quarter were Facebook renting three buildings in the King's Cross Central development and Publicis Group take-up of space at White City Place.

However, demand from financial services firms fell to 24 percent. Deloitte said 3.2 million square feet was transacted overall in the third quarter, a 10 percent drop sequentially, but well above the quarterly average.

The tally for office space currently in construction fell as a record number of projects were completed and handed over in the six months to September and as new projects accounted for less total space.

The survey showed 40 central London office schemes totalling 4.2 million square feet were completed in the survey period, the highest in over 14 years.

Construction began on 32 new central London office schemes in the six months ending September 30, but in terms of space, new starts totalled 2.6 million square feet, a drop of 18 percent since the last survey.

Reuters

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