Liverpool and Birmingham Lead Regional Serviced Office Growth
For south-east businesses that are looking to expand nationwide but are hesitant about committing to a long lease in a conventional office, serviced offices provide an alternative.
With space more flexible than that under ordinary leases, serviced offices allow businesses to find out whether it would be a good idea to grow into a new region before signing for superfluous space.
And there should be no shortage of offices as serviced providers open more space across the country.
Property Direct can reveal the UK’s serviced office hotspots. Research from officebroker.com shows that, although London is still the focus of the UK serviced office market, the fact that Birmingham and Liverpool accounted for 7% and 6% respectively of revenue in deals done by the company last year shows a migration of interest.
officebroker.com was responsible for the introductions of around 40% of the serviced office
lettings in the UK in 2007 and is the largest company of its kind in the UK.
It reports that cities such as Bristol, Cambridge and Leeds have burgeoning markets for serviced offices, as small and medium-sized enterprises begin to start up in new areas.
John Spencer, chief executive of serviced office provider MWB Business Exchange, says London workstations can be double the price of those around the country.
In London the most expensive workstations are ┬ú800-┬ú1000 a month, compared with ┬ú400-┬ú500 in other large UK cities, although there are variations.
Here, we look at London and five other regional UK cities that have growing serviced office markets, into which south-east-based companies are looking to expand.
Central London accounted for 31% of officebroker.com’s revenue from deals in 2007. The City accounts for 16% of the total, shortly ahead of the 15% in the West End.
London accounted for 12% of the company’s deals in 2007, which shows rents are higher in the city than anywhere else in the UK.
The capital is the largest serviced office
market in the UK. Birmingham
There was a 41% increase in enquiries in the Midlands city in 2007 from firms seeking serviced office space, compared with the previous year.
This resulted in the completion of 54% more deals.
Jim Venables, managing director at Officebroker.com, says the range of space is a big benefit for the city. Access to Birmingham airport and the NEC conference centre are also huge selling points.
In the north-west of England, Liverpool’s serviced office market is growing fast. London aside, it was where Officebroker.com completed most of its deals in 2007.
Investment linked to its becoming the 2008 European Capital of Culture is thought to have affected this. Enquiries in nearby Warrington┬ábetween Liverpool and Manchester were also up 54% last year, making it one of the fastest-growing markets outside London.
Proximity to the M1 gives Leeds good access both north and south, while the ‘Leeds, Live It, Love It’ initiative has been attracting investment into the city. There were 47% more deals completed in the city in 2007 than in 2006, and the number of jobs is expected to grow by 32,000 over the next decade.
Serviced office transactions were up 43% in Bristol in 2007. Its proximity to the south-west of England and Wales have reinforced its standing as a regional hub.
Dan Murphy, Officebroker.com sales director, says enquiries in the Bristol market are being driven by the large amount of serviced office space available in the city.
In East Anglia, the Cambridge market accounted for 3% of serviced office
deals by Officebroker.com in 2007. This puts the city on a par with Bristol, Slough and Reading.
There were 71% more deals completed there in 2007 – one of the biggest increases across the UK.