London office lettings reach highest level since the pandemic started

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The amount signed for London office space companies over the past three months rose to its highest point since the start of the pandemic, as companies prepare plans for future workspaces.

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About 2.6 million square feet of space was taken up in the capital in the three months to September 30, mostly in the city and West End.

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According to property agent Colliers, this is up from the 1.1 million sq ft agreed a year ago, and the highest quarterly figure since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. However, this is less than the 3.5 million sq ft take-up in the comparable period in 2019.

The demand comes as firms draw up post-pandemic workspace plans. While some are freeing up space, there are owners who are looking for a modern headquarters, even if employees are only based there for part of the week, as hybrid working becomes more popular.

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Colliers said that for London as a whole, quarterly take-up is still 10% below the 10-year quarterly average.

Guy Grantham, Director of Research and Forecasting at Colliers, said: “Encouragingly for London’s economy and property market, 24% of the current mandate comes from the need for expansion space-seekers.”

The data came after two property firms reported better sentiment.

Accounts that have recently been filed by Haven, which includes office division Ocubis, will show a different factor, with profit falling from £6.2 million last year to £4.9 million.

The firm was founded by Foxton founder John Hunt. Matt Gresham at Ocubis said: “We are now seeing a rapid recovery with new tenants signing up to both our long leased office and business members’ club models.”

London landlord Great Portland Estates said it expects “healthy” demand to continue and has £3.3 million of rent under offer.

The company also said that a joint venture of which it is part has sold 160 Old Street (pictured) in a deal worth £181.5 million.


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