Cambridge sees strong take-up in 2016 despite uncertainty

20 December 2016

According to Savills, take-up in the Cambridge office market is set to hit circa 550,000 sq ft (51,096 sq m) by the end of 2016, in line with the long term average. Whilst figures are down compared with this time last year, the city has remained resilient in the face of ongoing political uncertainty.

This strong level of take-up, particularly in the second half of the year, can be attributed to a number of larger transactions totalling more than 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) taking place in the city. Deals of this nature include Domainex taking 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) at Chesterford Research Park, Heptares taking 30,000 sq ft (2,787 sq m) at Granta Park, U-blox taking 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) at Cambourne Business Park and Abcam taking 100,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) at the Biomedical Campus.

Rob Sadler, head of office at Savills Cambridge, comments: “What’s clear is that 12 months ago many were not anticipating the Brexit vote and what impact this might have on the property market. However, whilst there was an initial pause as businesses took stock following the result, forecasts have been largely optimistic with companies taking the pragmatic approach opting for ‘business as usual’, which has meant an uptick in take-up for the second half of the year.”

Furthermore, Savills has continued to see international occupiers take space in the city, undeterred by the June decision. This commitment to Cambridge has cemented it’s reputation as a world-class centre for R&D, innovation and technology. Examples include Enplas Corporation, a Japanese life sciences and engineering firm  take 1,515 sq ft (140 sq m) at Chesterford Research Park and SBM Life Science, a French company acquired by Bayer Environmental Science, take 4,571 sq ft (424 sq m) at Technopark earlier this year.

Despite ongoing demand for space from new and existing occupiers, Savills says Cambridge continues to face a shortage of stock both in the city centre and in the parks to the north and south. Looking forward, a number of speculative schemes are expected to commence in 2017, including 163,000 sq ft (15,143 sq m) at Brookgate’s CB1, the Maurice Wilkes Building, which will provide 63,000 sq ft (5,852 sq m) of Grade A space  at St John’s Innovation Park and 200,000 sq ft (18,580 sq m) of upcoming development at Cambridge Science Park. Upon completion, this should help to satisfy a number of ongoing requirements in the long term.

However, whilst supply remains tight rents have continued to rise, hitting £36 per sq ft (£387 per sq m) in the city centre and as much as £31.75 per sq ft (£341 per sq m) at Cambridge Science Park. Savills predicts that rents are likely to increase further still, particularly in the northern cluster, when the new railway station at Chesterton opens in 2017.

Rob Sadler adds: “2017 is set to be an interesting year as we continue to experience the aftermath of Brexit and on a more local level face the possibility of devolution and the implications of the Cambridge City Deal. Despite uncertainty, we remain optimistic for the year ahead and believe that the city will maintain its appeal as an international business hub proven by the upcoming development activity and the strength of both new and existing requirements.”

 
 

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Key Contacts

Rob Sadler

Rob Sadler

Head of
Office

Savills Cambridge

+44 (0) 1223 347 209

 

Hannah Pollack

Hannah Pollack

Press Officer
Commercial Marketing & Press

Savills Margaret Street

+44 (0) 20 7499 8644