The latest RARE seat survey provides an inside track on the occupational performance of the SE Office market over the year with the Thames Valley “well placed to capitalise on the bounce back”.
Jonathan Mannings Director of RARE, comments “The year started very well with a more optimistic outlook. No one could have predicted the events surrounding the global pandemic that had effectively closed down the market completely by the end of March.
However, the UK is in a good place to rebound quickly once the lockdown is lifted but it is probable that the year will be characterised by “caution” and as a result, take up will probably be lower than expected with rents at best, plateauing but more likely falling across the Thames Valley region as landlords react to the realities of the “new normal”. The much debated talk of companies reassigning large numbers of their workforce to work from home, thereby reducing their requirement for office space is, I believe, over-stated. People on the whole are social creatures who need the interaction of others to achieve maximum performance.
Whilst the lock-down has proved that technology is capable of facilitating home working, it is probable that the majority are counting the days until they can once again, leave the house in the morning and head to the office. Yes, there is likely to be a reduction in take-up in West London and the Thames Valley this year but does this hail the death of demand for offices in the region – certainly not! The fundamentals are still strong. As soon as the market bounces back (and it will), we’ll be in a good place to capitalise on the opportunities it presents.”
Our Q1 2020 Seat Survey is now available for download here.