Cambridge market anticipates zero lab availability as take-up is dominated by life science and tech occupiers

According to Savills, take-up of office and laboratory space in the Cambridge property market hit 193,334 sq ft (17,961 sq m) in the first half of 2021, broadly in line with the 10 year average. This was once again dominated by life science and tech occupiers, who combined accounted for just over 67% of all transactions.

As a result of this strong activity, Savills notes that all of Cambridge’s existing available lab space, totalling 29,438 sq ft (2,734 sq m), is currently under offer.

Wider availability, including offices, currently stands at 950,194 sq ft (88,275 sq m), which has been bolstered by the Q2 completion of Trinity College and TusPark’s Building 2 Cambridge Science Park, a 118,000 sq ft (10,962 sq m) speculative development. This, however, remains under offer together with an additional circa 300,000 sq ft (27,871 sq m) of office and lab space, which has the potential to reduce availability to critically low levels in key submarkets across the city later this year.

Looking ahead at the development pipeline, there is 400,900 sq ft (37,244 sq m) currently under construction, including 134,400 sq ft (12,486 sq m) of refurbished lab space, all of which is under offer. A further 144,000 sq ft (13,378 sq m) of this is office space that has also been pre-let at 30 and 20 Station Road to Apple and FORA respectively, leaving just 122,500 sq ft (11,380 sq m) of remaining speculatively developed stock.

William Clarke. director in the business space team at Savills Cambridge, comments: “Whilst take-up in the city remains robust in the first half of 2021, this could be hampered by a critical lack of supply as we head into H2 if all space currently under offer follows through to completion. This is likely to be felt most acutely by life science occupiers due to the fact that there will be close to zero availability for existing lab space. This will be hampered further by a lack of speculative development. Consequently, we may see further emphasis placed on the repurposing of buildings within the key clusters in order to cater to this ongoing demand.”