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Bristol city centre office market take up and rents robust for first half of 2020 despite coronavirus


Total of 272,354 sq ft of office space taken up in Bristol city centre during H1 2020.

Despite the pandemic lockdown, office take up in Bristol city centre during the first half of this year exceeded that of the same time last year, according to newly released figures from Colliers International.

The Bristol Offices Q2 2020 research report from Colliers International shows that a total of 272,354 sq ft was taken up during the first six months of 2020.

This was just four per cent below the five year average and in excess of the 235,700 sq ft taken up in the same period in 2019.

Bristol-based national offices director James Preece said: “Bolstered by an exceptional start to the year and low vacancy rates, rents have maintained their pre-COVID levels.”

He added: “As expected, the number of requirements nose-dived in April, only to bounce back up in May. This was mostly driven by the smaller end of the market with lease events looming.”

Rents in Bristol city centre during H1 2020 reached a high of £36.50 per sq ft, according to the Colliers research.

The research from the firm also shows that total investment volumes for H1 2020 were significantly higher than in the same period in 2019, and Q2 2020 investment activity was broadly in line with the five year average.

However, Richard Coombs, Bristol-based director in the National Capital Markets team, cautioned that these figures had been bolstered by a single significant investment transaction that took place in Q2.

He explained: “Total H1 2020 investment volumes reached £87.9 million, significantly higher than in H1 2019, although this was skewed by the sale in Q2 of the landmark Halo office development at Finzels Reach to Tesco Pension Fund for £70 million.”

He added: “We expect to see improved activity in the Bristol city centre office market in Q3 2020 after the summer holiday period.

“Although a shortage of investment stock and a lack of forced sellers is holding down activity, the low levels of Grade A office space will continue to drive interest from potential investors.”

The Bristol Offices Q2 2020 report from Colliers International underlines the resilience of the city centre office market, yet also reveals lack of activity in the out of town market where H1 take up was 72 per cent lower than the five year average.

The largest Bristol office out of town deal in Q2 2020 was customer support specialist, SubFero taking just under 6,000 sq ft at The Hub, Aztec West. 

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James Preece


National Offices


I am a Director in the National Offices team based in Bristol and have over 22 years experience.

Having joined Colliers in August 2008 my role has included numerous disposals and acquisitions in the South West for a myriad of clients, from large funds such as Aviva to private individuals.

I previously worked for Bidwells Business Space Agency team in Cambridge (2003 -2008) where I specialised in office and research & development disposals and acquisitions.

Before this I worked for Chesterton International Plc in London. After qualifying as a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2001, I remained in the City office agency team.


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Richard Coombs


National Capital Markets


Richard Coombs is a Director in the UK National Investment team with particular responsibility for investment in the South West. His specialist area is business space although he also provides advice to clients across all major sectors of the market.  Richard has advised clients such as Aviva Investors, Patrizia, Mayfair Capital, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Castleforge Partners for more than 25 years in the acquisition, sale and funding of investment property.

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