Research by Colliers suggests the South East office market recorded its highest quarterly take up in five years in Q4, 2023.

Colliers’ South East Snapshot reports there was 1.1 million sq ft transacted in that period, only the second time in five years to see more than a million sq ft in a three-month period.

During the October – December period there were 16 deals of more than 20,000 sq ft, compared to 22 during the rest of last year.

Key Q4 transactions include Wood Group taking 120,000 sq ft at 400 Longwater Avenue at Green Park (pictured), 75,397 sq ft was acquired by Air Products at 1000 Hillswood Park in Chertsey and Stanley Black & Decker took a  30,066 sq ft pre-let at Legal & General’s Tempo in Maidenhead.

That deal gave Central Maidenhead a new high of £51 per sq ft against the previous headline of £40 per sq ft. Chertsey, Crawley, Croydon and Reading (out of town) all saw growth of five per cent in Q4.

Willem Janssen, head of South East offices at Colliers, said: “The strong fourth quarter means that we ended 2024 with south east vacancy at 12.4 per cent, a 12-month low and 60 per cent of locations we monitor saw a fall in availability.

“A significant proportion of demand has come from occupiers looking to secure the best office stock in the region, not only in accordance with their ESG goals, but to provide working environments that their staff want to be in as the return to the office continues at pace.”

The report shows Woking, Guildford, Maidenhead and Watford all saw significant reductions in vacant space, with vacancy falling to an 18-month low across all four locations. Key locations across the South East have also seen an upward movement in prime rents.

Guy Grantham, director in the research team at Colliers, said: “Following several quarters of stasis within the market it was fantastic to see the year end on a high with reductions in vacancy and associated rental increases.

“Construction levels continue to be healthy and we are monitoring approximately 2.6 million sq ft of new office space currently under development across the wider South East. However, as demand is continuing and almost a third of this, amounting to 726,000 sq ft, has been pre-let.”

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