Big 6 H2 2023 Report

Overview of the regional office market across the UK

February 29, 2024
  • Elaine Rossall
  • Vicky Heath
  • Barrie David

JLL's latest research report provides a comprehensive analysis of the UK's regional office market performance in the second half of 2023. Despite ongoing challenges, key indicators demonstrate the market's resilience and adaptability. This report presents a full view of leasing activity, sector-wise distribution, transaction trends, vacancy rates, rental growth, investment volumes, and the active participation of international investors in the Big 6 markets.

Leasing Activity: The regional office market witnessed robust leasing activity during H2 2023, indicating positive momentum in the sector. Leasing volumes surged by 15% when compared to H1 2023; however, there was still a 17% decline when compared to H2 2022. Annual leasing reached 3.7 million sq ft, which falls below the levels observed in both 2021 and 2022.

Sector-wise Distribution: Professional services firms emerged as the most active players, accounting for one-third (33%) of leasing volumes during H2 2023. Following closely behind, the service sector contributed to 22% of the leasing volumes, demonstrating its resilience and adaptability in uncertain times.

Significant Transactions: Although the overall number of high-value transactions was lower, two transactions exceeding 50,000 sq ft were signed during H2 2023. This brings the total number of substantial deals in 2023 to three, highlighting the commitment of businesses to secure larger office spaces for their operations.

Vacancy Rates: The vacancy rate experienced a slight increase quarter-on-quarter, with a 40 basis point rise observed during H2 2023. This indicates that supply and demand dynamics are in flux, offering opportunities for occupiers and landlords to negotiate favorable terms.

Rental Growth: Notably, rental growth gained momentum in H2 2023, with an average growth rate of 4.6% recorded across the regional office market. This positive trend suggests that the market is rebounding and creating new investment opportunities for landlords.

Investment Volumes: Investment volumes across the Big 6 markets reached £1.16 billion in 2023. While this represents a 29% decrease when compared to 2022, it demonstrates that the market continues to attract investment despite prevailing uncertainties. Further analysis of these investment volumes reveals that international investors played a significant role, accounting for 55% of the Big 6 market volumes in 2023.

Read more in our Big 6 office market report, available now.

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