The future of UK regional office demand
The largest cities outside London have seen a remarkable renaissance over the past thirty years. But the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to homeworking have presented significant challenges. With rapid recovery anticipated during the second half of 2021, what will this mean for the regional office markets going forward?
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The COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting lockdowns and the dramatic changes to working life over the past year has produced widespread disruption to offices and the towns and cities around them. The next few months will see more people return to their usual workplace as restrictions are relaxed. But the office and the cities around them will have irrevocably changed.
The increasing government focus on improving the economy outside London, new infrastructure and the relocation of government departments and parts of the BBC to cities such as Leeds and Birmingham will provide a boost for the regional office market.
However, with people clearly expecting to come back to a different, improved office, the key questions for the office market are how this this will be implemented, whether it could lead to less office space being occupied, and whether policies over working from home might change over the cycle.
In our last paper, we looked at the implications for London. Here we examine the scale and nature of these shifts in some very different office markets – the wider South East and the major cities outside London (the ‘Big Six’).