Businesses drive flexible leasing boom

Twenty nineteen was the second best year on record for flexible office leasing in London, according to a new report

Data from the flexible office specialist Workthere shows that, despite ongoing wider economic and political uncertainty, a total of 2.2 million sq ft was leased to flexible office providers throughout 2019 in the capital – an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year. 

In terms of location spread, the lion’s share of activity was concentrated in the City, with the Square Mile reporting 1.5 million sq ft of take-up from the sector. This equates to a 68 per cent increase of take-up in Central London compared to 2018.

Cal Lee, global head of Workthere, said: “Underpinned by strong fundamentals and a good supply of stock, the flexible office sector in London went from strength-to-strength in 2019.

“Deals such as Convene leasing of 67,000 sq ft of flexible office space at 80 Fenchurch Street as well as their pre-letting of over 99,000 sq ft at TwentyTwo Bishopsgate are testament to the attractiveness of London’s flexible office market.”

Cal Le of Workthere
Cal Lee: sector went from strength-to-strength

While the overall average price per desk per month within flexible office space was down 5 per cent  year-on-year across London as a result of increased supply, the West End saw a 6 per cent increase going from £776 per desk per month in 2018 to £826 in 2019.

Average desk costs in Victoria, King’s Cross and Soho, were £700, £800 and £750 respectively, with top prices for the best quality space reaching over £1,000 in each sub-market which is subsequently driving the price increase in the West End.

Jessica Alderson, global research analyst, pictured above, said: “In terms of the size of space that our clients are looking for within flexible offices, the average number of desks required in London in 2019 was 15 per cent higher than the UK as a whole.

“The trend for larger businesses to occupy flexible space on a longer lease term as part of their overall property strategy has increased in London and we expect this to continue across the course of 2020.”

Workthere notes that new businesses made up a greater portion of the enquiries for flexible space in London during 2019 at 12 per cent, compared to 7 per cent in 2018, while the proportion of enquiries due to our clients being unsatisfied with their current office doubled last year.