Business

The Bristol office market has been seeing high buying activity for six years

A study finds that the demand for office space in Bristol is at its highest level in six years. The city’s office market was the only one across the UK’s six largest regional settlements to report an increase in rental activity in the first half of the year, according to research by property agency JLL.

The analysis, which also tracks purchases, vacancies and rental rates in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester, found a rise of 18% in Bristol in the second half of 2021 – the first period that JLL has spotted undisturbed. Through national Covid-19 lockdowns since before the pandemic.

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JLL said the technology, media and telecom (TMT) and services sectors have dominated office rental business in Bristol, taking over half of the floor space occupied in 2022 to date.

The company highlighted Deloitte’s move of more than 600 employees to a massive Halo environmental office in Finzels Reach and the Paymentsense financial firm that opened a call center in central EQ development as “significant deals” during the period.

JLL said its research has also identified the challenges currently facing the Bristol office market. The company said there is about 475,000 square feet of new speculative space currently being built, with just over 30,000 square feet set to be completed this year. The commercial real estate company said the offer “will do little” to ease pressure on new offices in the short term.

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Across the six cities analyzed in the research, JLL found leasing activity for the first half of 2022 was slightly ahead of the same period last year. Rents grew 5.6% year over year, while investment levels rose 16% in 2021 and 27% above the 10-year first-half average.

Hannah Waterhouse, director of the Bristol office at JLL, said: “Bristol is proving to be an increasingly attractive base for those working in Professional Services and TMT. Office providers need to match their desire to set up their business here with a steady supply of quality equity. This will require investment, but the opportunity is there. For the city to solidify its position as a technology hub for years to come.”

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Eileen Russall, Head of Research and Strategy at UK offices at JLL added: “While the story emerging across the six cities is somewhat mixed, the overall data suggests a sector is on the path to recovery.

“What is needed now is certainty. As we head toward a turbulent economic environment, companies will need to trust local and national leaders before setting up offices and investing in our cities.”

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