Office Leasing In Central London Plunged 60% In 2020
UNITED KINGDOM – Data from a property consultancy showed that the amount of leased office space in Central London has sharply declined by 60 percent for the whole of 2020, reported the Evening Standard on Wednesday (6 January).
According to preliminary figures compiled by Savills for the news agency, overall lettings in Central London has plummeted to 4.3 million sq ft last year from 10.8 million sq ft for the entirety of 2019.
Nonetheless, the real estate consultancy said the final tally for 2020 could be higher as there could be rental transactions inked during the last days of the year that have not yet been reported.
The significant drop in office leasing is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced many people to work from home since March 2020 and travel curbs that have hindered office viewings.
Another factor is that employers have delayed their office moves as they await the end of the health crisis, while some are considering to institutionalise telecommuting or adapt some sort of flexible work arrangement post-pandemic.
“That the data shows that overall leasing was substantially down in 2020 compared to previous years will come as a shock to no one, but there are positive signs that the worst may be over,” said Savills’s Director for Central London Josh Lamb.
He revealed that they have witnessed increasing levels of underlying demand for office space in early December, with both active and potential London City and central London office requirements edging up by 6 percent compared to November 2020.
“The successful roll out of a vaccine over the coming months will support a return to the office, so we’re generally optimistic about 2021’s prospects,” noted Lamb.
While a number of organisations will likely want more flexibility in the future by combining remote and in-office work, several major companies have already signed leases for London office space in 2020, such as law firm Covington & Burling, as well as streaming behemoth Netflix.