January London office lettings reach highest levels recorded since July 2020, says Colliers

Take up of office space across central London reached 420,000 sq ft in January, the highest volume seen since July 2020, and 13 per cent above the average monthly leasing figures since the start of the pandemic, according to Colliers.

Guy Grantham, Director of Research & Forecasting at Colliers, says: “January’s numbers exceed November and December’s volumes combined, with the legal sector being particularly active, accounting for 233,000 sq ft of lettings. 
 
“Over 70 per cent of transactional activity was for Grade A quality space. This reinforces expectations of a ‘flight to quality’, as occupiers seek to secure and create the best and safest environments for their staff, once a full return to work is possible.”
 
According to Colliers the average monthly lettings total since the start of the pandemic has been 366,000 sq ft, putting the January 2021 numbers 13% above trend. However, the firm notes there is still some way to go to get to the average monthly deal size of 983,000 sq ft seen in 2019.  Significant deals in January included Latham & Watkins’ pre-letting 200,000 sq ft at 1 Leadenhall and Bank Leumi signing for 8,746 sq ft at 1 Angel Court. 
 
James Walker, head of City Agency at Colliers, adds: “The positivity that has come from the UK’s successful vaccine rollout and reduction in daily case numbers is reflected in the increased transaction volumes we saw in January.
 
“This optimism should continue for the first half of the year and once travel opens up, and people can return to their offices with confidence, we expect recovery to begin in earnest.” 

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