London office lettings reach highest level since the pandemic started


he amount of London office space companies signed for in the last three months reached its highest point since the start of the pandemic, as firms draw up future workspace plans.

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

That is ahead of 1.1 million square feet agreed a year earlier, and the highest quarterly figure since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, according to property agent Colliers. However, it is below the 3.5 million square feet of take-up in the comparable period in 2019.

Demand comes as firms draw up post-pandemic workspace plans. While some are axing space, there are bosses looking for modern HQs even if staff are only based there for part of the week, as hybrid working becomes more popular.

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 the London economy and property market, 24% of current mandates are derived from need for the occupiers to seek expansion space.”

The data came as two property firms reported improved sentiment.

Accounts that have recently been filed by Heven, which includes offices division Ocubis, will show stripping out one off factors, profits last year declined to £4.9 million from £6.2 million.

The firm was set up by Foxtons founder Jon Hunt. Matt Gresham at Ocubis said: “We are now seeing an accelerating recovery with new tenants signing up in 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 lettings under offer.

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

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