Thames Valley offices 9th January 2017

Office take up across the Thames Valley 1,134,916 sq ft, down from 1.585m sq ft in 2015 and 17% down on the five year average of 1.367m sq ft, as rents held steady, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Take up clearly fell away in the second two quarters compared to the first two with the break down being Q1 - 344,409 sq ft, Q2 - 317,802 sq ft, Q3- 220,365 sq ft, Q4 - 252,340 sq ft.

In its full-year report Cushman reports that supply levels slightly increased in Q4 (6.3% up on Q4 2015) to 6,121,421 sq ft due to the following schemes reaching practical completion: 

  • Belmont, Uxbridge totalling 125,000 sq ft which has been developed by Aviva
  • 4 Longwalk, Stockley Park totalling 100,000 sq ft developed by Aberdeen

There were three transactions over 50,000 sq ft in 2016 totalling 276,000 sq ft, which accounts for 24% of the annual take up.

These were:

  • Thales: 11,000 sq ft at 350 Longwater Avenue, Green Park, Reading
  • Bayer: 80,000 sq ft at 400 Longwater Avenue, Green Park, Reading
  • Amadeus: 85,000 sq ft pre-let at 4 World Business Centre, Heathrow

Despite increasing supply levels and lower than average take up levels, rents held firm throughout 2016 with a number of key centres exceeding their previous headline rental peak. For example, Maidenhead achieved £37.50 per sq ft and Reading £35 per sq ft.

New occupier requirements totalling 4.43m sq ft were recorded in 2016, an increase on both 2015 (4.2m sq ft) and 2014 (3.75m sq ft).

The average size of requirement in 2016 was 10% larger than the long term average, standing at 17,426 sq ft.

Vacany rates slipped just 0.24% to 10.78% over the year with grade A supply over 20,000 sq ft now at 2,759,653 sq ft.

Charles Dady, Head of South East Office Agency & UK Landlord Services, Cushman & Wakefield, said: "In some ways it was a year of two halves in 2016 but that was not all down to the referendum though it was a clear factor. While take up was down 28% on the year, demand was up. We hope that means take-up will be up again this year. There a good number of lease breaks coming up and rents are holding up well and in some cases growing."