Scotland 146% up for serviced office take-up in October
October 2009 saw a rise in serviced office take-up of 146% for Scotland compared to the same month last year. When comparing figures month-by-month, Scotland produced a further improvement on this figure, resulting in an increase of 190% in October 2009 when compared to the previous month of September.
This comes after an inconsistent year for Scotland. In terms of take-up, the region has followed a series of peaks and troughs throughout 2009 that failed to maintain stability, and month-by-month take-up regularly dipped below last year’s figures.
However these latest findings, in which October’s 2009 take-up figure alone accounts for 25% of new occupiers from January – October as a whole, suggest that Scotland may finally be finding its way out of a difficult period (see below graph).
The graph represents a year-on-year comparison for serviced office take-up figures in Scotland:
October’s sharp incline in new occupier take-up has pushed the overall volume of figures in 2009 to date above that of 2008. In the period of January to October, new occupier take-up in Scotland is currently 9% higher in 2009 than 2008.
This is directly related to October’s performance. Statistics show that during the first three quarters of the year as a whole (January – September), 2009 was down -8% in terms of take-up when compared with the same period in 2009. However, by adding October’s figure to this result, 2009 then forges ahead with a 9% improvement over 2008.
This bright start to Q4 comes despite an overall drop in enquiries for Scotland. Throughout the first three quarters of 2009 as a whole, Scotland was down -14% in enquiries when compared to the same period in 2008.
October’s enquiry levels were also down in 2009 when compared to October 2008, but by the smaller margin of -6%. However, month-on-month enquiries were up slightly by 4% in October 2009 when compared with the previous month of September.
Throughout the year, this drop in enquiries collates to a drop in take-up for Scotland. However October’s significant rise in take-up compared to only a marginal improvement in month-by-month enquiry levels suggests that officebroker.com are currently receiving a more urgent set of enquiries by businesses seeking office space in the region.
This could be in response to cost-cutting measures, which would correlate with figures showing that the major Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are down in terms of both enquiries and take-up in the period January – October 2009 (compared to 2008). Year-on-year, Edinburgh is down -16% and -37% for enquiries and take-up respectively, while Glasgow has dropped -20% and -25% for enquiries and take-up respectively.
Start-ups boost take-up figures
October’s sharp increase in take-up for Scotland therefore came from a number of other cities in the region, including Aberdeen, which alone produced a massive 450% increase in take-up in the month of October. Inverness also produced a significant rise in new occupiers, while the smaller towns of Dundee, Paisley and Perth maintained a consistent level of take-up in October.
It’s unlikely that businesses would consider either Aberdeen or Inverness as an alternative to Edinburgh or Glasgow, as the distance between these cities is in excess of 3 hours by road. However these four cities do share connections by rail and air, which would potentially offer some opportunities for commuting, possibly on a weekly basis.
It’s more conceivable therefore that Edinburgh and Glasgow’s decline in enquiries and take-up is as a result of the ongoing recession, which could still be forcing businesses to downsize in a bid to survive and to remain profitable.
By the same measure, the economic climate is encouraging a number of new start-up ventures – often as a result of workers being made redundant. This could explain the increase in new occupiers in Aberdeen and Inverness. These cities are traditionally less expensive than the major commercial hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and may present a significant cost-saving advantage for smaller businesses and the self-employed.
Those embarking on a new business venture are also more likely to choose premises close to their home. Therefore for entrepreneurs already living in Aberdeen or Inverness, they would potentially choose offices near these locations before considering a move or expansion into larger cities.
Overall, despite an inconsistent performance in terms of enquiries and take-up over the year to date, and falling interest in the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland’s smaller towns have recuperated the lost figures and enabled the region to turn in a significant increase in new occupiers in October. If this trend continues it could promote a positive outlook for Q4 and beyond.
For more details of serviced office space to rent in Scotland, search online at officebroker.com.