Bristol office market starts the year with a bang

EQ in Bristol

The Bristol office market has seen very strong take up in both the city centre and out of town markets, reports the Bristol Office Agents Society. The city centre has experienced its highest Q1 take up on record, and new headline rents have been set. In addition to this the out of town market has seen improved occupier confidence and its highest Q1 take up since 2014.

The city centre was expected to have a strong start to the year when several deals slipped through from 2021, but this record take up sets a very positive outlook for the rest of 2022. There was a total of 30 deal cross the line in this period with an average deal size of 7,809sq ft which is higher than the 5 and 10 year average.

Not only has there been a continued high number of deals but this quarter has seen seven deals in excess of 15,000sq ft cross the line to boost take up. The largest of these was another successful pre-let of 54,767sq ft at CEG’s EQ to Paymentsense. Other large deals include Deloitte’s pre-let of 22,500sq ft at Cubex’s sustainable building Halo, DeskLodge’s new 17,265sq ft business centre at AEW’s Beacon Tower, the letting of 16,500sq ft at The Core to EPIC, and Clarke Willmott agreeing a pre-let of the top floors at AXA / Bell Hammer’s Building C Assembly totaling 15,624sq ft.

Headline rents for the city centre have also reached a new record with lettings breaking through the £40 per sq ft barrier for the first time.  The headline now sits at £42.50 per sq ft.

The Bristol out of town office market has also seen a strong start to the year with its highest Q1 take up since 2014. A total of 16 deals were signed in Q1 to give a take up of 102,133sq ft, the largest of these was Lysander Law’s move to 19,333sq ft of 1st floor space at 740 Aztec West. This take up is much improved on the last two years quarterly break downs, and is almost half of the take up for the whole of 2021. The out of town market was hit hard by the COVID pandemic but this improved occupier confidence gives promise for stronger demand moving forward.

Steve Lane, Partner of Office Leasing at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “A fantastic record-breaking start to the year. As restrictions are lifted occupancy levels continue to improve. We have seen businesses being drawn to high quality buildings with strong ESG credentials – reflected in the fact that almost half of the city center activity was in Grade A schemes. These figures put pressure on the vacancy rate and as demand continues to improve there will be a sustained emphasis for the market to deliver the high quality space that occupiers require”.

JLL’s Director in charge of Office Agency, Ian Wills added: “The market has really bounced back – this isn’t the same everywhere so Bristol is clearly a great place to work.  We have noticed a real ‘flight to quality’ with occupiers focusing on the very best space. Buildings with low energy use, sustainable management and the best facilities are proving very attractive”.