Office market roundup 2021
The work from home message at various points during 2021 clearly had a huge impact on the office market. However the stats speak for themselves, it was not all doom and gloom last year. The market adapted to the changes in legislation and employer and employee sentiment.
Take up for 2021 was 177,951 sq.ft across 22 transactions. Whilst it amounts to a 68% increase on amount of sq.ft let on the previous year – and the best since 2018, the number of transactions was only marginally more and it is still not quite up to the ten year average which stands at 207,318 sq.ft.
Grade A rents in Watford have continued to grow with the letting to ENRA at HYDE, 38 Clarendon Road resulting in a new headline rent of £37 per sq.ft. The largest transaction during 2021 was the letting to Skanska who took 67,000 sq.ft of tenant space at Leavesden Park.
Watford continues to be an attractive hub for the surrounding regions with larger occupiers coming from Borehamwood, Maple Cross, Radlett and others. The flight to quality still remains with HYDE bringing new headlines rents and Croxley Park also demonstrating growth on the park. While Grade A space remains scarce around the region, we do expect this to change in the near future, but it is unlikely to affect rents negatively with further growth predicted on headline rental levels.
Welwyn Garden City
Unfortunately 2021 was again a quiet year for office lettings in Welwyn Garden City with take up of only a little over 18,000 sq.ft, although this still represented a significant improvement on 2020’s truly poor letting figures, when the initial effects of the pandemic largely shut down the market for some months. Interestingly the average size of the individual lettings is respectable at a little over 3,600 sq.ft, although with only 5 notable transactions, extrapolating trends is risky at best.
On a positive note, all of the transactions involved tenants new to Welwyn Garden City, with the towns major occupiers not having been active in the market. It will be very interesting to see how Buildings 4,5 and 6 at Trident Place on The Hatfield Business Park are received by the market, following EE’s departure. The total space on offer here amounts to a little over 155,000 sq.ft and as such does offer a product that in terms of size is all but non-existent in the north M25 market.
Total office take-up in St Albans was close to 43,000 sq.ft, almost double 2020’s figure, across 7 transactions. Grade A headline rents have shown significant rises after a lack of activity in this sector due to the lack of supply.
£38.50psf has now reportedly been achieved at Legal & General and Canmoor’s scheme at 10 Bricket Road where a comprehensive refurbishment and re-configuration of the building is nearing completion, with an additional floor having been added. Aecom, a long time St Albans’ resident, have taken the ground and first floors. At 45 Grosvenor Road, BEAR Nibbles, a fast growing European food company, advised by Brasier Freeth took a little over 14,000 sq.ft on the second floor which will serve as their new UK HQ.
2022 Key office instructions
Hyde is one of the landmark buildings in Watford. The accommodation is situated within a spectacular corporate office building offering from 3,184 up to 50,107 sq.ft office space. Hyde has been refurbished to a high standard, the specification includes 4 pipe fan coil air-conditioning, full access raised floors and suspended ceilings with LED lighting.
New amenities include a communal sun terrace with pergola and seating, an atrium breakout space & coffee point and 72 new cycle storage points & changing facilities. >
The Dock, Kings Langley
Set alongside the Grand Union Canal, The Dock is only 100m from Kings Langley station (Euston 27 minutes) and 1/2 mile from J20 on the M25. The building is offered on a leasehold basis as a whole 47,786 sq.ft or on a floor by floor basis from 8,238 sq.ft.
The building offers the best of both worlds to a modern occupier. It is situated in a highly accessible location making it easy for staff and visitors to access the building being only a 2 minute walk from Kings Langley Train Station, 3 minutes drive from Junction 20 of the M25 and only 6 minutes drive from the M1. >
Wallace House, Shire Park Welwyn
Wallace House is a 5,100 sq.ft 2-storey headquarters-style office building which has undergone a major Grade A refurbishment including an upgrade of air conditioning to brand new VRF system.
There has been a comprehensive modernisation of all common areas with the inclusion of modern shower facilities and break-out space to suit a variety of occupiers. >