London office news 21st April 2016

Demand for office space in London remained robust through the traditionally quiet first quarter, according to CBRE, with 3.1m sq ft snapped up by companies, despite fears that economic headwinds and the possibility of Brexit could dampen demand.

The 3.1m sq ft is only marginally below the 10 year average of 3.2m, with a major move by Thomson Reuters, to take 315,400 sq ft at 5 Canada Square in the Docklands, lifting overall take-up for the quarter. The amount of office space under offer remains unchanged from the previous quarter at 3m sq ft, having been above the 10-year average of 2.8m sq ft since the beginning of 2014.

The development response has so far tracked demand, with supply increasing by 2% over the course of the quarter to stand at 12.2m sq ft, some 17% below the 10-year average.

Emma Crawford, head of central London Leasing at CBRE, said: “Between a weak outlook for global economic growth and an upcoming vote on EU membership, businesses have had to contend with a heightened level of uncertainty. That demand for office space has remained so resilient speaks volumes for London’s ongoing attractiveness as a global hub for those companies hoping to lay down roots or expand their footprint in the capital.

“Whilst the high level of space under offer is particularly encouraging, we anticipate a more subdued Q2 as the referendum vote gets closer.  We will be on course for a rebound in leasing activity in the second half of the year provided the UK votes to remain in the EU.”