Bristol city centre office market strong in Q2 despite uncertainty

Colliers International National Offices director James Preece

Latest Bristol office figures from sector specialist Colliers International have revealed exemplary first half take-up of 381,000 sq ft – an annual increase of 43 per cent, despite uncertainty created by the impending EU Referendum vote.

National offices director James Preece said: “Despite the uncertainty created by the EU Referendum, it is encouraging to see that the strong fundamentals of the Bristol office market continue to produce impressive take up figures.

“The city centre has a diminishing supply and with only one new office under construction, the pressure on rental levels continues, making the probability of the elusive £30 per sq ft hurdle being cleared far more likely in 2016.”

Latest H1 figures published by the Bristol office of Colliers International show take-up rose by 30 per cent year-on-year, and by a quarter above the five year average take-up.

Meanwhile, supply levels have continued to fall and with only one speculative office under construction; the vacancy rate is at an historically low 8% in the city centre.

Catherine Collis, national offices director at the Bristol office of Colliers International said of 381,000 sq ft half year take up.

“This is a massive 43 per cent up the same period last year, and has been greatly assisted by the completion of two deals of over 60,000 sq ft.

“The largest deal in Q2 was the purchase of The Core on St Thomas Street by Direct Line for owner occupation extending to 63,000 sq ft.

“The second quarter of the year witnessed an excellent level of take up at 246,000 sq ft, and overall, the first half of 2016 has seen 30 per cent more take up than the same period last year, driven by a number of significant transactions in the city centre.”

She added: “There were no Grade A deals in Q2, however we are aware of at least one significant transaction that has just slipped into Q3.”

Figures for Bristol city centre from Colliers International show take up reduced marginally quarter on quarter with Q2 at 185,000 sq ft, just 5 per cent down on the excellent level seen in Q1.

The number of transactions was up 33 per cent quarter on quarter with 83 per cent of the deals, by number, below 5,000 sq ft.

With a lack of Grade A Bristol city centre activity in Q2, the prime rent remains at £28.50 per sq ft although quoting rents continue to edge up to £31.50 and above.

The largest out of town Q2 letting was Cablecom taking a lease of 18,500 sq ft at 1 Rivermead Court, Clevedon, and total out of town take up for H1 was 136,000 sq ft, which is a marginal 2 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Catherine Collis said: “Out of town take up in Q2 was 60,600 sq ft, down 19 per cent on the first quarter, although the number of transactions this quarter was up 29 per cent on Q1, illustrating greater volume of sub 3,000 sq ft deals.

“Notwithstanding the Q2 stats, there are a reasonable number of requirements between 5,000 sq ft and 30,000 sq ft currently seeking space.”