Brasier Freeth Market Report 2020

Office

The total takeup was low, at 51,089 sq.ft in 7 transactions. This is less than 50% of the 10 year average take up. Grade A rents in Hemel remain static at £27.50 psf. Incentives have increased reflecting the lack of confidence fueled by a third lockdown.

The largest transaction was GAMA Healthcare 19,606 sq.ft, at The Maylands Building who relocated from Watford, and the second largest was Mothercare who also relocated from Watford in search of value.

There is currently over 300,000 sq.ft of available office stock on the market and we anticipate this figure will increase during 2021.

Key Instructions – Progression Centre

Rarely available, detached self-contained office building of 10,400 sq.ft (966 sqm) with a generous provision of 47 car parking spaces, building 1 the Progression Centre offers newly refurbished high quality accommodation that is available for immediate occupation.

The offices are spread over two floors, are fully air conditioned, have LED lighting and a full access raised floor and a passenger lift.

The Progression Centre is located in the heart of the Maylands Business area only 1.5 miles from Junction 8 of the M1 from where the strategic junction with the M25 (J21) is only 3 miles to the South.

2021 Predictions

  • Constricted supply of Grade A offices will continue however the year is likely to see an increase in space released into the market by tenants, including Watford’s largest office occupier, TK Maxx, who are set to take occupation of their new 200,000 sq.ft headquarters.
  • Rents to continue pattern of growth and it is anticipated that headline rents for Grade A quality offices will increase.
  • Pent up demand from COVID is likely to surface in Q3/Q4 2021 with numerous companies wanting to get back into the office.
  • Temporary reversal or pause in growth of co-working trend.
  • There will be an increasing focus on quality of space and provision of on-site amenity to lure staff into the office in the light of new flexible working practices resulting from COVID.
  • Office availability particularly of Grade B and stock on the assignment market will rise.
  • Developers will continue to look for distressed assets / PD opportunities albeit the majority of the quick easy wins have already been harvested.
  • Slowdown or halt to rental growth in areas with high stock levels as landlords chase limited enquiries.

 

Industrial Review

The total take up was 140,472 sq.ft in 16 transactions with the average transaction size of 8,780 sq.ft reflecting the lack of available larger units. The largest transaction was 22,408 sq.ft; the assignment of Unit E Maylands Point to IIAA. The company were in a competitive situation for the building and a premium was secured for the lease.

Spring Park, Maylands Avenue has seen a number of lettings this year, with a guide rent of £12.50 per sq.ft per annum exc. Only Unit 1, 7,100 sq.ft remains available. And, now only one new unit remains available at Unit 5 Eastman Way, Prologis Park (13,066 sq.ft). There is a general lack of freehold transactions across the market.

DC1 (150,000 sq.ft) Prologis Park, a turnkey datacentre project will complete in February 2021.

Prologis Park’s DC234 (233,860 sq.ft) is not on site with completion due Q3 2021, this high quality logistics unit is a much needed product in the North M25 / Southern M1 corridor.

 

Current Key instructions  –Unit 5, Prologis Park

Prologis Park Eastman is an established industrial and logistics park just 2 miles from Junction 8 of the M1.

The development was completed in 2020. Unit 5 is the last remaining unit at 13,066 sq.ft with 10 on site car parking spaces, 8m eaves height and a first floor office.

 

2021 Predictions

  • Take up will remain subdued due to the lack of supply across all size brackets and the development pipeline is thin, so we are unlikely to see supply increase which may lead to rent increases.
  • Demand to remain robust as higher rents in London suburbs drive businesses to more economical locations with good transport links, such as Watford.
  • Refurbished industrial product to Grade A standard will maintain and move on headline rents.
  • Incentives will remain low and rental growth is likely to continue.
  • When freehold opportunities enter the market new benchmark values are likely to be set.
  • There may be further data centre development on industrial and logistics land.

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