The South East office market 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted the Western Corridor and wider South East office market during H1 2020 with lockdown restrictions reducing the level of occupier activity.

October 11, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted the Western Corridor and wider South East office market during H1 2020 with lockdown restrictions reducing the level of occupier activity. In addition, the ability for much of the workforce to work from home has led to many occupiers reassessing how they occupy and utilise office space.

When focussing on the Western Corridor, H1 2020 take-up reached 598,700 sq ft, 50% below the level seen in H1 2019 and 32% below the H1 10-year average.

The TMT sector was the most active in H1 2020, accounting for 32% of all take-up by floorspace; the largest deal being Hewlett Packard signing for 31,484 sq ft at 210 Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham. However, the largest deal to sign during the first six months of 2020 was pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, acquiring 42,480 sq ft at 8 Arlington Square West, Bracknell. This deal demonstrates the continued strength of the life sciences sector during the lockdown period which recorded 139,400 sq ft of take-up during H1 2020 in eight deals. 

Following a strong start to 2020 with a total of £1.01 billion of office transactions in the South East in Q1, the investment market slowed significantly in Q2 as the repercussions of the Covid-19 lockdown hit the market. Despite this, £348 million across 10 deals transacted in Q2. The largest transaction was Tristan Capital’s purchase of Reading International Business Park for £120 million, which had previously been placed under offer in Q4 2019.


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