Research from the Hicks Baker agency shows that in the first 6 months of this year, rental activity grew by 116% above the same period in 2010. The agent’s report examined significant leasing deals (+5,000 sq ft) for offices in the greater Reading sub-region. These revealed are signals that market conditions have become more challenging, as economic uncertainty has led to fragile business confidence in the Thames Valley region.
Currently, there are only a handful of major employers still planning to move office in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. In order for this area, which is well-known for its research and technology enterprises, to keep pace with last year’s performance at least one sizeable deal will need to be completed by the New Year.
So far this year, major deals have already been completed by PRA International, a clinical research specialist, who has chosen to move to Prudential’s Green Park from commercial space in Reading’s Worton Grange. Atos IT group also moved into new office space at the IQ development in the Winnersh Triangle. Quintiles, the biopharmaceutical giant, has just opened its new European HQ within Green Park this month.
Although the new offices will house more than 500 members of staff, the deal has already been included in last year’s figures, since the lease had been signed in 2010.
The much expected relocation of Visa to Kennet Wharf, is one deal that has now fallen off the market radar since the credit card company reconsidered the move.
Despite the inconsistent demand for Reading office space, he said office rents have remained solid in the town centre, where there is an increasing shortage of high quality prime office space to rent in RG1.