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Relocation Trends In London

What you need to know about office relocation trends in London

As the London office market evolves to factor in emerging sectors and new breeds of businesses, occupier priorities appear to be changing. Though location remains the leading priority for choice, it seems that the criteria on which an ideal location is identified has evolved.

Proximity to competitors and clients have taken a back seat, while proximity to amenities and hotspots factor more highly into relocation priorities than ever before.

Having moved on from just bricks and mortar, real estate has now become a tool for recruitment – able to successfully attract and retain talent, helping to significantly reduce business costs when used effectively. Choosing the right office space therefore offers an opportunity to reflect who you are as a brand.

Studying corporate relocation trends

Since 2013, Cushman & Wakefield have monitored tenant demand, leasing transactions, and the migration patterns behind them.

Our recent Movers & Shakers Report looks at the office relocation trends in London in 2018 – we fill you in on a selection of key findings from 2018 leasing transactions, as well as what you can expect throughout 2019.

Areas attracting interest

In our 2018 London office market analysis report, we noted an upward trend in the number of moves from West London to East London. 2018 saw 40 such moves, a significant increase from the 19 in 2016. This upward migration trend is expected to continue throughout the course of 2019, indicating a distinct shortage of suitable units in amongst the core submarkets of the West End.

In 2018, submarkets such as Paddington, White City and Victoria all saw positive net migration. Interestingly, this coincided with an increase in the completion of multiple developments in the local area.

Relocation distances

The average distance that companies moved across London increased to 1.2 miles in 2018. This is the highest level we’ve seen over the course of the last six years.

Again, based on data collected in our 2018 London corporate relocation trends report, it would seem that businesses are now having to move further afield in order to find and secure the type of office space that is right for their company.

Expansion and New Entrants

During 2018, London’s expansion activity saw a staggering 2.1 million square feet of extra space transacted – a 24% increase on the previous year. Not surprisingly, Facebook, Google and Deloitte Digital are key examples of companies that expanded.

In actual fact, tech firms drove this activity, accounting for 53% of the total expansion space in London. As artificial intelligence and digital disruption continues to advance, further growth is expected.

Looking to the future

With the upcoming opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line, submarkets including Clerkenwell and Canary Wharf are likely to see a long pipeline of speculative development and an increase in business relocation and migration.

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