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South East Offices Snapshot Q4 2019

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south east offices q42019

South East leasing activity in Q4 2019 was strong, with 592,764 sq ft transacted. Quarterly take-up was 7% up on Q3 2019 levels. Political and economic uncertainty affected take-up levels in 2019 while total leasing activity reached c. 2.6 million sq ft, which was 29% lower than 2018 year-end take-up activity.

Take-up in Q4, was dominated by the L’Oreal pre-let at The Gateway, White City for 120,000 sq ft. L’Oreal’s commitment to White City is not only a strategic decision for the company but further reinforces White City as an established, innovative and thriving office market.

Office take-up across the South East in 2019 was focussed on Grade A, with roughly 1.8 million sq ft of Grade A offices transacted, which accounted for, on average, 71% of take-up between 2017 and 2019.

Supply levels in the South East continue to be eroded as vacancy levels are now at just 7.8% down from 11.2% in 2015. We expect to see sentiment in the South East office market grow in confidence during 2020 as Grade A vacancy continues to fall.

The key investment trends of Q4 2019 were:

  • Office business park transactions accounted for approximately 44% of total investment volumes and attracted the most diverse group of buyers.
  • Overseas investors were particularly active accounting for a 35% market share of transaction volumes, with a preference for larger lot sizes.
  • Private equity buyers, who were absent in Q3, had the second highest transaction volumes of the quarter, accounting for £247 million (20%).
  • Property companies had the largest market share by transaction number accounting for nine transactions out of 44 in the quarter (20%).
  • Continued demand remains for defensive assets in town centres or those offering long income secured against strong covenants.

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South East Offices Snapshot Q4 2019

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Related Experts

Chris Ward

Associate Director

National Capital Markets


Chris joined Colliers International in 2011 after graduating form Salford University with a Masters in Real Estate & Property Management.

Chris worked within the Commercial Lease Consultancy, and Valuation departments prior to joining the National Investment department in January 2015 where he advises clients on the acquisition and disposal of investment property across a number of sectors.

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Guy Grantham

Director of Research and Forecasting

Research and Forecasting

London - West End

Guy has been a property research professional for 23 years and gained extensive knowledge of the UK and Global property markets. He has worked closely with a wide variety of major developers, landlords and occupiers in a consultancy capacity. Instrumental in supporting Hines' purchase of Brindleyplace for £200m, on which Colliers advised. He is now specialising in the London Office market using his extensive knowledge and experience to provide market leading insight into current occupier, investment and development trends.

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