Market Digest

November 2021

By Sam Compton

No return to the old ‘normal’

JLL, Global Real Estate Perspective

JLL published their Global Real Estate Perspective report in November. In the report, they touch upon ‘Work Dynamics’ and how corporate occupiers are being forced to adjust to fluctuating patterns of COVID. Due to this, they claim organisations “will need to be flexible, agile and above all, adaptable to shifting demands to facilitate their ongoing transformation”. JLL firmly believe hybrid working models are here to stay and that there will be no return to the old ‘normal’.

The report also acknowledges that overall sentiment and activity in office markets across the globe are improving “although at differing speeds”. Q3 global leasing volumes are 39% higher than a year ago but are still down 25% on Q3 2019. Recovery is underway, but far from over.

Source:

Read More Here

The hunt for best-in-class office space

Savills, Spotlight European Investment

Savills shared, via a recent overview of European market activity, they’re seeing more enquiries for space and that the size of the requirements are larger than average. Savills research team believe companies see their employees gradually returning to the office as part of a new hybrid working model; this model however involves occupiers reassessing their property requirements.

It’s expected this will translate to an intensified demand for the best-in-class office space in good locations. Subsequently, Savills also believe this will put more pressure on secondary stock to upgrade.

Savills believe this could also mean “that prime CBD rents in markets with tight demand and supply conditions could also experience positive rental growth in the medium term”. This higher rent is linked to the search for premium, best-in-class buildings that meet the required ESG credentials.

Source:

Read More Here

New dynamics unfolding in APAC

PWC and the Urban Land Institute, Emerging Trends in Real Estate

PWC have outlined what they see as new dynamics unfolding in the APAC commercial real estate market. Landlords are being impacted by occupiers demanding more; according to PWC, this means having to adapt to occupier demands such as “less dense workspaces” and ones which offer “collaborative facilities and experiential spaces”.

In the region, flex offices are “becoming increasingly popular ways for occupiers to hedge uncertainty about future staffing requirements” as well as to minimise exposure to “long-term leases of conventional office space”.

PWC also mention the increasing focus on technology in this space and what companies expect it to offer. Investors are looking more frequently at acquiring and analysing data – landlords want office assets to become “data enabled”. This is because occupiers are demanding, from landlords, real-time data on space utilisation and energy usage.

You can access the full report via the source below.

Source:

Read More Here

October 2021

By Amanda Fanoun

Savills releases UK Flex Office Perspectives

In their latest report, Savills highlights insights from industry leaders on the future of the flexible office market. The report covers the expanded range of occupier choices for flexibility and levels of maturity. It also covers office cost analysis, occupier, operator and landlord perspectives on flex, and views on technology adoption in the sector.

Key takeaways:

  • The provision of space in the UK market and globally is heavily weighted towards private office space, with 50% of flexible workspace made up of private offices
  • The average size of occupier space requirements increasing by 46% on pre-pandemic levels from an average of 11 desks per transaction to 17 desks per transaction in 2021.
  • Regional office markets have observed a faster recovery, with 10% of demand in H1 2021 accounted for by flexible offices which is also a main driver of expansion for occupiers in 2021 and 2022
  • Companies are willing to pay a premium for a fully serviced offering on more flexible lease terms
  • Technology is allowing landlords and operators to minimise time-to-value by rapidly activating flex space for any purpose, through automation of all the digital infrastructure and business processes required in the building.
Read the report

JLL: Shaping the Future of Work

JLL’s latest report puts the transformation to hybrid at the center of the continued evolution of the future of work. This transformation is outlined by three principal stages with flexibility and technology at its core:

  • Models with built-in flexibility
  • Invest in flexibility, technology and health
  • Embrace and drive the transformation

The report goes on to discuss the requirement for a holistic plan that can support both in-office and remote workers long and short-term. Additionally, flexibility stands out as vitally important to ensure resilience and always-on transformation and adaptation for hybrid workplace strategies. To be successful in the transformation and integrating the future of work, organizations must align their technology strategy with organization and portfolio goals.

The framework for an integrated future of work includes:

Read the report

CBRE EMEA Occupier Survey

This recent report looks at key trends and insights on occupier sentiment across Europe based on CBRE’s summer survey of over 130 respondents. Key takeaways around office models, workplace strategies and flexibility include:

  • 77% of large companies are leaning towards mixed and hybrid working patterns but there is still uncertainty around execution.
  • 79% Expect office-based work at least half of the time; The office is still a strong feature in the future distribution of work, but it will be used differently.
  • 18% of companies expect flex space to account for the majority of their portfolio; Flex is increasingly valued by occupiers and will continue to rise.

The report also highlights the focus on tech-enabled collaboration for new workplace strategies. It’s evident that technology is critical to collaborative, engaging and culture-driven workplace solutions, and in supporting hybrid working patterns. Companies are using or considering the following CRE technology for their future working plans:

Read the report

September 2021

By Andrew Levey

FLEXIBLE OFFICE MARKET TO BE WORTH AROUND $111.68 BILLION BY 2027

Research analysts Zion Market Research recently estimated that the flexible office market is likely to be worth over $111 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 17.1% in the coming years.

The estimation is based on an increase in the number of employees working away from a corporate head office to reduce travelling hours and increase employee satisfaction, while boosting their work efficiency and productivity. In addition to working from home, the report points to flexible offices being key to providing employees the technology and environment they need, as well as providing large corporates more local options to build new business relationships.

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LONDON OFFICE SPACE TAKE-UP REACHES HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE PANDEMIC

Data from CBRE showed Central London office take-up totalled 815,700 sq ft in August, a 63% rise on the previous month. While still below the 10-year monthly average of 1 million sq ft, Rob Madden, Head of Offices for CBRE UK commented to the Evening Standard that the London office market “is making real strides in its recovery as confidence returns and companies continue to enact their return-to-work policies.” A number of large pre-let deals helped elevate the figures, including law firm Travers Smith’s acquisition of 15,400 sq ft at Stonecutter Court.

The report also showed that under offers are continuing to rise, ending the month 16% above the 10-year average, while active demand declined from 7.4m sq ft at the end of July to 6.9m sq ft in August.

Sources:

COMPANIES RETHINKING OFFICES TO ATTRACT WORKERS

The Financial Times recently covered how companies are rethinking their office spaces to compete with homes and other locations as attractive places to get work done. The article spoke to corporates to find out how they’re tackling this for their business, as well as space providers on what they’re seeing in their markets. Some interesting themes emerge, including:

  • Using savings from reduced office footprints to invest in better spaces, more aligned to a fun and engaging experience.
  • Reconfiguring spaces to provide more unallocated spaces for people to sit and work, and more differentiation between “me time” and “we time”.
  • What office spaces can offer in terms of technology, wellness and sustainability.
  • Local meeting room availability so employees local to each other can collaborate outside of the head office.
  • Ensuring employees who don’t have appropriate space to work at home, have a local option where they can work.

As companies strive to find the balance between attracting employees into the office and delivering the flexibility they’re asking for, office space providers with premium experiences and technology will stand out from the crowd.

Source:

August 2021

By Sam Compton

Hybrid Working and demand for a ‘Third Space’ on the rise

The World Economic Forum has reported that McKinsey believe 90% of companies anticipate a move to a hybrid operating model where employees are split between their office and home – however, as part of this approach, a third way of working is “growing increasingly popular”.

The potential monotony and distraction of working from home constantly for 18 months led to almost 2.2m people worldwide opting to work, at times, from a flexible office space during 2020 (128 times more people than in 2010). 

This desire to have access to a third space is a feature of modern tenant expectations and is here to stay; as found in recent research conducted by Verdantix (May 2021), companies deem access to a premium third space as a key tool in attracting and retaining talent (see Figure 2 in the Verdantix report). This is because of the expectation end-users have around premium, remote working experiences (see Figure 3 in the Verdantix report). 

Sources: 

Read more here

Demand for flexible space in the UK up 37% in H1 2021

Property Funds World has reported that demand for flexible workspace in the UK is up 37% for the 6 months to 17 June 2021 in comparison to the same period of 2020 (source, The Instant Group). 

Demand for flexible space is bouncing back from what was a difficult end to 2020. This increase is driven by employers wanting to bring workers back into an office whilst offering talent a better work-life balance with reduced commuting times. 

This increase in the short-term is supported by the longer term trend of organisations taking a “shorter term view of their real estate portfolio”. Consequently, average lease times have decreased from 10.4 months in June 2020 to 8.9 months in June 2021.

It’s a similar story in the US. According to Bisnow, who quote data from Upsuitedemand for flex office space increased 41% nationally from Q1 to Q2 this year. 

 

Sources:

Read more here

RICS Publish their latest Global CRE Monitor

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently published their latest Global Commercial Property Monitor; their monitor acts as “a quarterly guide to the trends in the commercial property investment and occupier markets” and tracks sentiment as well as the state of supply and demand within commercial real estate. 

RICS reported that sentiment among global investors and occupiers has improved for the fourth successive quarter; demand for office is either flat or improving as a general rule across North America, Europe and APAC. Despite this, in the US, some major cities are faced with office oversupply (RICS, Global Commercial Property Monitor, page 5), making it more important than ever for landlords to differentiate their offerings. 

Source: 

Access RICS global monitors

July 2021

By Amanda Fanoun

+Vaccinations, + Flex Office Demand

Data from workspace innovation group Instant Offices has revealed a link between demand for flexible office space and vaccination rates. They compared data from their listing platform in New York City, Miami, Chicago Denver, San Francisco Atlanta and Dallas and found that demand for flexible workspace is greater where vaccination rates are higher. The results were similar when looking at data in the UK and EMEA.

Cities with higher vaccination rates are also seeing increased demand from enterprise clients, barring San Francisco, which is seeing smaller footprint requirements.

Read more here

Developer Confidence in European Office Market

Savill’s recent market outlook examines 25 European markets and the supply and demand equilibrium. They state that 5.23m square feet of office space is expected to be delivered this year, up 24% from last year’s completions. The development pipeline corresponds to approximately 4% of stock. Fifty-four percent of the space in the 2021 pipeline is already committed and they project 7% YoY recovery in take-up for 2021, albeit 33% below the five-year average.

In terms of office space requirements, the report points to redesign of office spaces to adapt to employee priorities for safety and wellness. Flexible working is in demand and some companies are reducing overall space requirements while others are adopting hub and spoke models and on-demand flexible office space closer to residential areas. Flexible and mixed-use assets are factors of choice for occupiers. Savill’s points to increased competition among landlords, citing operational efficiency and quality of services as key factors of consideration for occupiers.

Access the full report here

Cautious Optimism for NYC Office Market

New reports point to increased leasing activity in Manhattan over the previous quarter. According to a CBRE office market report, Q2 leasing rose 20% totally 3.47 million square feet. A Savills study suggested leases signed climbed 20% to 4.9 million square feet from the previous quarter and sublet supply declined by 700,00 square feet to 21.3 million square feet.
As employees slowly return to work, it’s becoming apparent that amenities are a must to attract tenants, naming healthy and comfortable layouts and environmentally friendly features.

Read more here

June 2021

By Andrew Levey

CBRE Forecasting 15-20% Global Real Estate Volume Growth


CBRE recently published the results of their 2021 Global Investor Intentions Survey, which broadly paints a positive picture of recovery from pandemic-induced downturns across global real estate investment markets. CBRE is forecasting 15-20% year-on-year growth in 2021 global real estate investment volume as employees return to the office.

Within the 9 key trends identified from the survey, CBRE found investors are strengthening the appeal of the office with flex space offerings and experiential services. In terms of the most in-demand building attributes in the future, flexible office space options and shared meeting space ranked number one and two respectively. It’s also interesting to note that connected technology, building apps and touchless technology were also identified by more than half of respondents.

Download the CBRE report

Changing Employee Attitudes Towards Workplace Expectations

JLL recently published results from their latest global office worker barometer, showing that forced remote working due to Covid-19 has created opportunities, but also exposed new social risks such as virtual fatigue or burn-out.

The research, based on responses from 3,317 office workers from 10 countries raise some interesting key findings, including:

  • An outstanding office is the best way for businesses to engage employees, with ‘office nostalgia’ high in exceptional offices. 69% of people highly satisfied with their office environment strongly miss their office, as opposed to only 5% for those not fully satisfied with their usual office environment, showing the office has a major role to play in helping employees navigate out of the crisis.
  • Homework fatigue is growing as workers increasingly miss ‘office life’, which is leading to aspirations of more balanced working patterns. 63% of the workforc
    e want to keep the possibility to alternate between different places of work in the future.
  • Productivity at home is declining with a 10% drop in workforce that feels more productive at home than in the office, which is leading to new expectations for the office. 47% say are they are satisfied with their office today, which is a major drop compared to 63% a year ago.
  • Flexibility in working patterns has become a ‘must have’ in the employee package, with 88% of the workforce wanting more flexible working hours in the future. This is most likely driven by 79% of respondents saying the time saved on commuting having been used to improve quality of life through more leisure time, or being able to better deal with family responsibilities.

The report leads JLL to believe that the office will become the primary place of work again but must upgrade to meet the new priorities of the workforce.

Download the JLL report

London 'At Risk' of Running Out of Flexible Office Space by the End of 2021

An article in the Facilities Management Journal gave a stark warning from O&A Property Consultants, that London is ‘at risk’ of running out of flexible office space by the end of the year.

The article points to the effects of Covid leading to a huge rise in demand for flexible office space, as employers rethink their workspace needs and worry about being left with empty, expensive real estate in the face of ongoing and unexpected future lockdowns.

The increased demand is driving up the prices of flexible space, with a prediction that the average cost of a London desk could rise by as much as 40 per cent, to around £700 per desk per month.

Read the full article on Facilities Management

May 2021

By Sam Compton

How Can Commercial Real Estate Move at the Speed of Business?

While the pandemic heightened the importance of office scalability and agility forcing businesses to rethink their commercial real estate strategies, it also brought the focus back to the employee. In the post-pandemic world, employees will become consumers of office space forcing HR, IT and CRE to create an engaging space that meets the employee’s needs.

The Instant Group takes an in-depth look at the impact of the pandemic across the US and Canada with the goal of answering the question: is adoption of flexible workspaces the key to enabling commercial real estate to catch up to the needs of modern businesses? One interesting takeaway is that after taking a dip in the early days of the pandemic, demand increased by 21% from the first half of 2020 to the second.

You can read the report here

EMEA Office Snapshot, Q1 2021

Colliers have published a quarterly report, reviewing key trends emerging within the EMEA office market. Their report notes that whilst many occupiers are moving towards complete, flexible working models, new office space requirements cannot be ignored. Tenant requirements are expanding and are increasingly driven by an appetite for quality, ESG-amenable products in core locations that are capable of attracting skilled talent. Technology will play a critical role in meeting these requirements. Colliers expect to see many innovative and interesting examples of how to make the most of office space on the market.

You can access the report here

New Research Identifies the need for Landlords to Refine Flexible Strategies; Those Who Do Will Thrive

New research undertaken by independent research and advisory firm Verdantix highlights how there is a significant misalignment between landlords and commercial occupiers regarding the role of flexible workspaces. So much so, that only 13% of occupiers believe that landlords are strongly positioned to serve their flexibility requirements.

Although nearly two thirds of occupiers (60%) plan to leverage flex space over the coming three years, only half of landlords (53%) are currently offering a premium flexible space option. The report reveals there is disconnect regarding expectations and actual offerings when it comes to landlord and occupier opinions in the flexible workspace market, especially towards technology needs.

You can download the research here

April 2021

By Amanda Fanoun

The Future of Cities, Work and Office Space

Real estate and technology thought-leader, Dror Poleg, spoke on The Prof G show with Scott Galloway to discuss the future of Cities, Work and Office Space. Dror addresses the impact of technology on unlocking flexibility across real estate assets to meet customers’ increasing demand for services, agility and design. The conversation addresses the potential returns for real estate owners and operators that can de-risk assets and attract and retain customers.

Tune in to the insightful conversation here (skip to 13:14)

Global occupier survey points to office-first hybrid policies

Cushman & Wakefield recently surveyed over 300 global occupiers and members of CoreNet Global to understand what the post-pandemic workspace ecosystem will look like. The research underlines the changing role of the office as a place to foster corporate culture, collaboration, innovation and creativity.

More than half (58%) of global respondents will take an office-first hybrid approach to work to foster greater flexibility. However, the future of the workspace is not one-size-fits all. The backbone to support such flexibility is technology that can efficiently connect people across locations, enhance collaboration and support seamless access to different types of employees and their work.

Get the report here

The Flexible Office Breakdown

Tenants are demanding more of their landlords – flexibility, shorter term leases, more services, and safer, more secure workspaces. Landlords and operators are scrambling to weigh the risks and benefits of rolling out flexible propositions that can help attract and retain tenants. In this 2-part podcast, Franco Faraudo at PropModo speaks with the movers and shakes of flex as they highlight the challenges of this approach to office space.

Have a listen to get under the hood of the challenges and advantages of flexible office models.

Get the podcast here

March 2021

By Andrew Levey

Deloitte: Digital Transformation and Tenant Experience are a Business Imperative

In the latest CRE Outlook from Deloitte, 200 industry leaders shared their insights on how their companies are recovering from Covid-19. The findings show that the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology in the CRE industry, but for 56% of respondents it also uncovered shortcomings in their company’s digital capabilities and affected their plans to transform.

The pandemic has also made improving agility a top priority for CRE, which requires companies to focus on the digitisation of key business processes as well as the tenant experience, for example through the use of apps. While many companies are now planning to accelerate digital transformation, only 40% have defined a digital transformation road map. In addition, only one third of respondents believe they have the resources and skills required to operate a digitally transformed business.

To strengthen operations and build trust with tenants, the report suggests companies should look to adopt a structured approach to digital transformation, bolster cybersecurity and data privacy efforts, and use analytics to make data-driven decisions.

With the right technology, flexible workspace providers can speed up their digital transformation, by simplifying and automating core processes. The right technology will also avoid the need for complex supply chains, outsourcing partnerships or large technology teams.

Read more from the Deloitte 2021 CRE Outlook

Optimism in Flexible Workspaces on the Rise for Landlords

Savills recently published the results of their Landlord Flex Survey, looking at the importance of the office and future prospects.

As the pandemic has progressed, the perception of how people will return to the office has evolved and while acceptance of working from home has increased, the importance of the office has also been reinforced. Businesses know the office is still important for maintaining the right culture, and employees still see its value in terms of collaboration, mentoring and networking. A hybrid model of home and office working has emerged, for which the flexible workspace market has a major role in delivering.

And landlords have obviously seen this potential. 62% are optimistic towards the flexible office sector, and while 29% already operate a flexible offer, a further 29% would ‘like to’ or ‘are planning to’. But this doesn’t mean landlords are looking to go it alone. Nearly a third consider a flexible workspace operator as important, while another third consider the presence of an operator as a ‘nice to have’.

Read more about the survey and download the report

Shaping Human Experience - Hybrid Work and Four Emerging Worker Profiles

Also focusing on the emerging hybrid work model of home and office working, JLL’s recent ‘Shaping Human Experience’ report identifies four unique worker profiles, characterised by their appetite for home working:

  • The Traditional Office Worker wants to work exclusively in the office, demanding in-person activities and an office-centric work pattern.
  • The Experience Lover demands high flexibility and consider the office as a key destination. They want to be at home one or two days a week.
  • The Wellness Addict puts their work-life balance first, demand flexibility and choice, and prefer three to four days at home.
  • The Free Spirit has the biggest appetite for remote work. They demand full empowerment and a work-from-anywhere working pattern and want to work full-time from home.

As the JLL research shows, without careful management frequent remote working can have a negative impact on workforce morale and productivity. But with over half of employees falling into the Experience Lover and Wellness Addict profiles, the challenge for employers will be finding the optimum balance of remote vs office work to maintain engagement, commitment and satisfaction.

While they navigate this hybrid model, employers will be looking for support from space providers that have the flexibility to meet their needs today and in the future.

Download the ‘Shaping Human Experience research from JLL

Boom in US Office Space Demand

An article in Globe St this month showed significant improvement in US demand for office space. The national VTS Office Demand Index (VODI), which tracks in-person and virtual tenant tours of office properties, showed strong increases in January and February and is now 38% lower than it was just before the pandemic – a significant improvement on the position in May 2020 when it was 85% down on pre-pandemic levels.

It was also encouraging that February also saw the first month since October 2020 where demand increased in all office markets tracked by VODI, with New York City, Seattle and Washington D.C. leading the growth.

Read the full article

February 2021

By Sam Compton

The Resilience of Commercial Real Estate During the Global Pandemic

Nuveen recently published a report on the experiences of commercial real estate during the global pandemic and offered their near to medium-term outlook for the industry.

When it comes to impacts on the office sector, Nuveen comment how the trend of densification had taken hold pre-pandemic. Figures show that in recent years average space allocated per employee had shrank from 250-300 sq ft to as low as 100-120 sq ft. Nuveen suspect, therefore, that this trend will come to an end and that many companies (during the process of planning how to adapt their work environment) will allow for more space per worker in the future. They believe this will mitigate any decrease in demand for office space brought about by work-from-home arrangements.

Read the full report

Flexible Real Estate: Demand Will Grow and Tech Will Be King in 2021

An article this month in Globe Street cited recent research from Colliers that suggests “2021 will be the year that non-CBD flexible workspace supply increases dramatically”.

This sharp increase in demand is expected to come from occupiers who are seeking to offer a range of geographic locations for their distributed workforce. Increased supply is predicted to come from both existing operators as well as new entrants to the market which could include repositioned retail and hotel assets.

It’s also noted that “tech will be king” in 2021 as occupiers need to execute on what they call “occupancy strategies”. As a consequence, Colliers expect partnerships between landlords and providers to increase as the year goes on.

Read the article here

Are Landlords becoming Service Providers?

We kicked off February by hosting a virtual roundtable as part of SPACE UK; the event focusses on exploring big ideas and new business models for the commercial industry. Our table discussed why landlords are adopting more of a service provider mindset when it comes to managing their assets and what this means in practice.

Our CEO, Mark Furness, hosted the roundtable and participants included thought leaders from Great Portland Estates, Tishman Speyer, M7 Real Estate, LandSec, The Collective, Runway East and British Land.

You can view the roundtable recording and hear what our industry participants had to say.

View the roundtable

January 2021

By Amanda Fanoun

The Future of the Office

With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, there’s reason to be optimistic about the year to come. A vaccine roll out is underway, surely to bring a boost of morale to communities around the world, and an uptick in workers trickling back to their offices. While the return to a full five-day week in the office is unlikely in 2021, the silver lining of the global coronavirus pandemic has been the market opportunity left in its wake.

Instant Offices predicts a 21% growth in flex-space office supply globally. Where will this growth come from? The shift towards flexible office models has accelerated, causing landlords to look more thoughtfully at rolling out flexible propositions. Meanwhile, pure play flexible workspace operators are well positioned to grow and meet market demand. Of course, this will depend on how well they’ve planned for the rainy day.

For both market players, the writing is on the wall. There is the need and the enthusiasm to drive the workplace experience into its next phase of evolution. Flexible is the future of the office and occupiers are at its core. Those who are positioned to clear complex operational hurdles and adapt to tenants’ evolving requirements will undoubtedly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Worker Choice is Key

Real estate guru, Dror Poleg, shared his insight on the office market in a recent New York Times article. The office will become “more dynamic than ever”, he writes. The expected change is being driven both by where people choose to work and the consumerisation of the office. Poleg emphasises the importance for space providers to adjust to the new era of worker choice.

Read the article

Positive Long-term Outlook

In a recent CBRE occupier survey, 86% of respondents consider flexible office space as a key component of their real estate strategy and portfolio plan up from 73% less than a yea ago. The latest North America flex office report identifies the case for optimism within the market as 2021 gets underway.

Perseverance and adaptation are essential during the continued pandemic. Key indicators for resiliency will be a space provider’s ability to deliver on new office requirements and evolve existing business models to meet demand.

For the full report, click here