In overall terms, the property market has experienced challenging times over the past 3 years, principally at the hands of our politicians. The uncertainties over Brexit have meant delayed (or negative) decisions to relocate businesses; the planning system continues to require complete reform; housing stocks remain inadequate with no sensible solution in sight; the last efforts at business rates reform have remained a shambles and the retail sector has seen a dramatic transition away from the High Street. It’s no wonder that take-up levels in the office sector have been subdued across the south east throughout 2019.
So, it was surprisingly satisfying to tally up the take-up stats for Basingstoke at the end of the year, to reveal an overall total of 305,000 sq ft, comparing very favourably with the 2018 figure of 260,000 sq ft. Not only that, but the 2019 total ignores the purchase by Squarestone of Mountbatten House for refurbishment purposes. This could arguably add a further 154,225 into the take-up column.
One of the inevitable consequences of this healthy level of demand locally, is an increasing supply level, principally as landowners and developers recognise the potential for new development in the town. The 2018 supply figure was reported as 587,000 sq ft, whereas the tally at the end of 2019 was 678,700 sq ft. This figure reduces to 572,000 sq ft if space options of less than 5,000 sq ft are excluded from the calculation, but the revised total includes the Mountbatten House space which has still to be refurbished, along with 2 pre-let sites – Neon and Benchmark.
Of the lower figure, some 375,000 sq ft (65%) could now be categorised as prime quality, Grade A space, much needed in terms of attracting corporate activity into the local market. The majority of corporate occupiers continue to seek the best Grade A space providing quality of amenity and wellbeing, excellent travel and internet connectivity and usually a nearby retail offer. The better buildings in the best locations will continue to prosper in all local markets, which is a promising sign for the central Basing View location in Basingstoke and the town’s premier out of town business park at Chineham.
As if to underline this point, within the total take-up figure of 305,000 sq ft last year, some 159,690 sq ft (52%) was situated on Basing View, and 69,070 sq ft (23%) on Chineham Park.
Prime office rents in the town are now being quoted at £28.50 per sq ft, an increase on the previous letting of The Florence Building at a reported £22.00 per sq ft and the pre-let deal with Eli Lilly at £25.00 per sq ft.
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Contact for further information:
Baker Davidson Thomas
Telephone: 01256 840 777
7th January 2020