Viewpoint - 07/05/2014

Spotlight on London's South Bank

The office market of Central London's South Bank has continued its trend of strong growth in Q1 2014.

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The area has seen an increase in demand, driven by its central location; easy access to City, Docklands and West End; main rail stations of Waterloo and London Bridge and the varied leisure and retail offer along the River Thames and Borough Market.

Highest take-up levels since 2007

Availability in the South Bank has fallen to 1.2m sq ft with take-up increasing to 1.8m sq ft during the 12 month period to February 2014. This is the highest take-up level recorded since 2007. Key transactions in 2013 include News International acquiring 430,200 sq ft at The Place, and Ogilvy & Mather taking 216,300 sq ft at Sea Containers House. At the Shard, HCA International acquired 69,900 sq ft and Mathys & Squire signed up for 28,500 sq ft. Our analysis estimates that in 2013, the most active sector in the South Bank was TMT, which represented 64% of total take-up.

Developments attract global occupiers

The large developments of More London Place, London Bridge Quarter, 240 Blackfriars Road and Bankside Buildings have revolutionised the submarket, which was traditionally made up of smaller buildings. These developments have attracted an array of global occupiers, requiring modern, efficient and open plan office buildings with big floor plates. The London Bridge Quarter will also deliver a further 180,000 sq ft of retail space of varying sizes which will increase the mixed use provision centred around London Bridge station.

Prime grade A rents to grow over next two years

We expect prime grade A rents to continue to grow over the next two years, driven by improving occupier demand, which is fuelled by the greater confidence in the economic recovery. Prime grade A rents currently stand at £50 per sq ft and are even higher at The Shard. The market has seen a reduction in supply of office stock as a result of office buildings being converted to residential to meet the ever increasing demand from residents for the South Bank area.

1.1m sq ft of commercial property to be delivered in Waterloo

We estimate circa 1.1m sq ft of commercial accommodation will be delivered in the locality of Waterloo station between 2017 and 2019. This will be at York House, Westminster Bridge Road and the Three Sisters development site. Two further development sites on Blackfriars Road are scheduled to provide circa 500,000 sq ft, but no delivery date has been set.


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