Property consultancy JLL recently predicted that London rents would break the £90 per sq ft barrier, £5 more than the current market rent paid by occupiers in the centre of the capital.

Whilst this may offer happy days for some well-placed agents in the city working on prime London offices, in reality many occupiers are likely to vote with their feet and move out of this property cauldron to new locations.   

This is where Reading, as an alternative office location, appears to be well be placed to profit from the potential overheating of the central London office market. Prime rents in Reading are currently at £38.50 per sq ft, achieved at 2 Forbury Place. With Crossrail opening next year, the town could provide occupiers with a real alternative.    

As Alex Aitchison, director of development for Lincoln Property, part of the Lincoln MGT joint venture, developing the site, said, interest has been considerable in both residential and office elements of the mixed-use scheme.

He told Thames Tap: “A large proportion of (potential) occupiers have been asking about the residential apartments to block book lots of those to house their graduates.”

He added: “It’s been overwhelming how many people are interested in having a front door in Reading.”

As new office space is constructed and developers bite the speculative office bullet, occupiers could start to trickle away from London and begin to see Reading as a credible alternative.   

Reading could be at the cusp of something rather interesting.

© Thames Valley Property No 196 (