West End Letting Market
The Tech and Media sector continues to be dominant with 24% of lettings, followed by the Serviced Office Sector at 21%.
The third quarter of 2019 exhibited a slight slowdown in activity across the West End office leasing market, but overall still demonstrating robust take-up figures, with 3M sq ft having been let over the year to date. This is slightly above the long term average, but circa 20% down as compared to the same point last year. Pre-letting activity has continued apace, driven by occupiers seeking to commit to the best available space, some way in advance of up-coming lease events. As a result the overall vacancy rate has dropped and now sits at 3.8%, a notable turning point with traditionally anything sub 4% being viewed as a strong “Landlords’ market”. Undoubtedly the West End is continuing to exhibit strong fundamentals in the face of wider business uncertainty.
Looking at the take up in more detail, the Tech and Media sector continues to be dominant with 24% of lettings, followed by the Serviced Office Sector at 21%. It remains to be seen following the well documented withdrawal of WeWork’s IPO as to whether this will have a significant impact on the aggressive level of take up we have seen from this sector over recent years.
Significant deals over the last 3 months have included Lazari Investments’ pre-let of the entire 14-18 Great Marlborough Street, W1 (105,000 sq ft) to Diageo, Nationwide securing the final 88,500 sq ft in The Post Building, WC1 (to bring this landmark development to fully let status) and most recently Bridgepoint Capital’s pre let of 83,000 sq ft at Almacantar’s 5 Marble Arch, W1. Large organisations such as these committing to the West End in such an emphatic manner is a real statement of confidence for the market moving forward.
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