Secondary office rents in Bristol climb back to 2007 high

Philip Morton, Head of Office Agency & Development at CBRE Bristol

Secondary office rents in Bristol city centre have reached levels not seen since their peak in 2007, according to new research from leading property advisers CBRE.

CBRE’s report details the average cost of secondary office rents in the centre of Bristol going back over the last 20 years. The average prices per annum for Grade B (£23.50 per sq ft), Grade C (£17.50 per sq ft) and Grade D (£12.00 per sq ft) have gone back up to the heights of 2007, having seen a period of steady decline during most of the intervening period.

The key driver to the growth has been the significant improvement of the economy and market, with unemployment at its lowest since the start of the recession. When coupled with the million square feet of change of use from offices to residential, it has caused a dramatic shortage of offices creating a new landlord rather than tenant market.

Philip Morton, Head of Office Agency & Development at CBRE Bristol, said: “Over the last 12-18 months the market has experienced a historic transformation which can be seen on every corner of the city as new residential developments morph out of redundant offices.

“Examples include Westgate on the centre, which was 90,000 sq ft of offices and will now provide 85 flats in Electricity House, and Lewins Mead, which was 105,000 sq ft and is now Number One Bristol with 150 flats. Overall our research suggests change of use will provide in the region of 1,025 units from approximately 735,000 sq ft of secondhand offices.”