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News Release

Southampton

JLL calls for more development to avoid office shortage in Southampton and the South Coast Metropole region

Report published today reveals office deals up 50% on same period last year


​Southampton, 3rd October, 2014 - The long awaited economic recovery combined with recent changes to the planning system mean Southampton and the neighbouring South Coast region could soon face a severe shortage of office space, according to leading property consultants JLL.

This runs the risk of curbing economic growth, argues JLL’s new South Coast Metropole report, published today (Friday 3 October 2014).

Office deals in Southampton and the South Coast region are up 50% on the same period last year. But this welcome return to investment means that new development is needed to meet demand.

Demand itself is also changing dramatically, according to the report, with occupiers looking for more varied and more flexible space. Features such as break out space, rooftop gardens, gyms, secure cycle parking and shower facilities are becoming increasingly important for organisations seeking new premises.

The number of offices being converted to other uses under the government’s current Permitted Development Rights (PDR) is further compounding the lack of supply in the market. Under the system, commercial buildings can be converted for residential accommodation without the need for specific planning permission.

Speaking at JLL’s annual Metropole breakfast Michael Green, lead director in JLL’s Southampton office, will say:

“At long last Southampton and the South Coast region is seeing strong economic growth, which has brought about a welcome boost to the commercial property market.

“But we risk stopping that economic growth in its tracks if the region cannot meet the growing demand for commercial property – and just as importantly, the right kind of property.

“With a keen eye on staff recruitment and retention, occupiers are demanding much more from their space. Break-out areas, gyms, rooftop gardens and other ‘lifestyle’ features are becoming all the more important as employers seek to create an attractive, inspiring working environment for their staff.

“The recent rise in demand, coupled with the reduction in supply partly brought about by a change the relaxation of the planning regime, means there is an ever greater need for speculative development in the region to complement the current round of refurbishments. However with recovery still building, there is still little prospect of developers building first and letting later, therefore refurbishments are likely to lead the market in the short to medium term.”

A total of 200,785 sq ft of office space was let in the South Coast Metropole region in 2013, and in the first three quarters of 2014 deals have completed on 422,626 sq ft of offices, an increase of 50% with a further 3 months remaining. In terms of number of deals this represents 27 transactions of over 5000 sq ft, compared to just eight deals in the previous 12 months.

At the same time, since the relaxation of the planning laws (PDR) in May 2013, JLL has seen 212,000 sq ft of existing office stock removed from the market in the South Coast Metropole region for alternative use. Combined with the 274,500 sq ft of development land with the potential for offices now being utilised for non-office use, the impact for the regional economy is significant.

Current refurbishments designed to meet current market demand include Queens Kemp in Southampton city centre where owner Ashville is extending the reception area and adding a new café, gym facilities and a potential roof terrace.

The South Coast Metropole report provides a full and in depth round up of the property market in the Southampton and surrounding South Coast region covering the residential, industrial and retail markets as well as the commercial office market.

A copy of the report is available on request, please contact Stephanie Day (Stephanie.Day@eu.jll.com) for more details.