Healthy performance for Bristol office market in Q1 2017 – Office Agents Society

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Take-up in Bristol’s city centre for Q1 2017 was stronger than expected, with 126,319 sq ft of space transacted, according to the latest Office Agents Society figures. This is in line with the 5 year average for the first quarter and higher than expected due to a couple of last minute deals crossing the line, including the University of Bristol’s purchase of 31,785 sq ft at the recently refurbished Augustine’s Courtyard.

This deal, along with the letting of 15,053 sq ft at Portwall Place, to Opus Recruitment, has continued to reduce the amount of Grade A stock that is available to the market. Almost 50,000 sq ft of space has been taken out of the Grade A market this quarter, and with very few new buildings being brought to the market, we wait to see the impact that continued take up will have on the development pipeline.

Out of town take-up was also in line with the 5 year average, with a total take-up of 89,774 sq ft for the first quarter of the year. This is considerably lower than the final quarter of 2017 but this was to be expected with only three deals of over 10,000 sq ft. These were: Boeing’s letting of 18,377 sq ft at 435 Bristol Business Park, Ultimate Finance taking 12,078 sq ft at Equinox North and Taylor Wimpy acquiring 11,379 sq ft at 730 Aztec West. There were however a number of smaller deals in the out of town market and this helped to maintain take-up.

Whilst take-up has been in line with average figures, there are a number of suites within both the city centre and out of town markets that are known to be under offer and due to complete in the second quarter of the year. Take-up is therefore expected to be high next quarter, we wait to see the impact that this will have on availability rates, the market and prospects for development.

Burston Cook’s Finola Ingham commented: “The first quarter’s take-up is a good start to the year and the city centre market, particularly where creative style offices are being marketed, has certainly seen increased demand.  The demand is strong from the TMT sector and in some cases two or three tenants have had to compete to secure the accommodation they want and in some cases pay the quoting rent, or higher.”

Paul Williams of Bruton Knowles added: ‘The statistics bear out our own experience that the Bristol market continues to perform strongly despite the continuing uncertainty over what effect, if any, the Brexit process will have on the wider economy. Bristol remains a highly attractive place to do business and the office take-up figures illustrate this. Our main concern for the remainder of 2017 is that a lack of sufficient stock, particularly for the SME sector, could act as a brake on progress, with a shortage of sufficient investment in the form of development activity and refurbishment of existing buildings to meet ongoing demand.’