Demand for office space in Scotland’s three largest cities pushed overall take-up to an exceptional figure of 2.4m sq. ft. last year; a 14% increase on the 10-year average. The market was aided by a solid final quarter of occupational deals in Aberdeen and Glasgow, and an all-time record year for Edinburgh.

This is according to the latest Scottish Office Spotlight from Savills, which shows that for Edinburgh in particular 2017 was a lucrative year as far as the office market is concerned. Throughout the city and surrounding areas office take-up amounted to a record-breaking total of 1.1 million sq. ft. The market’s success is attributed in large part to the ever-growing tech sector, which according to data from Stack Overflow was responsible for a 19% increase in the number of data scientists employed in the city centre over the course of 2017.

Keith Dobson, Director of the Business Space agency team at Savills in Edinburgh, said, “The soon to be completed 40,000sq ft. office scheme at 2 Semple Street will ease pent up demand come Q2 2018, whilst The Mint Building and Capital Square will complete in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

“However, with such a modest development pipeline overall we need more speculative developments to be announced if we are to harness Edinburgh’s flourishing tech hub and support the wider occupational market.”

Take-up for the full year in Aberdeen totalled 403,000 sq. ft., a 120% increase on the level recorded during 2016 and the strongest year since 2014. Unsurprisingly, says Savills, as the price of Brent Crude oil hovers just below $70 per barrel this boost in take-up has been witnessed most apparently in the Engineering and Extraction and Utilities sectors, which saw combined take-up reach 259,000 sq. ft., 64% of the total take-up, up from only 17% last year.

Simpson Buglass, head of the Aberdeen office and Director in the Business Space agency team, also commented, “There remains a two-tier market in Aberdeen, with landlords who have committed their oil and gas operators into long RPI-linked leases and footloose occupiers who are able to take advantage of attractive rent-free periods.

“Availability has now peaked in Aberdeen following the completion of Marischal Square and The Silver Fin Building during 2017. With enquiries from the oil and gas sector gathering further momentum, footloose occupiers are being encouraged to act sooner rather than later. Grade C space will need to reinvent itself or continue to struggle for the foreseeable future.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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