Press releases

London builds for business with 14.2 million sq ft of office space under construction

11 May 2016

The volume of central London office construction has risen by more than a quarter (28%) in just six months. Deloitte Real Estate’s London Office Crane Survey, now running for 20 years, has recorded 51 new construction starts, the highest number in the survey’s history. This brings the total amount of office space under construction to 14.2 million sq ft.

Chris Lewis, head of occupier advisory at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “London is building for business as developers respond to strong occupier demand. In just 18 months we have seen construction activity nearly double from 7.7 million sq ft in late 2014 to over 14 million sq ft today. As these new schemes begin to complete, London’s diverse mix of office tenants can look forward to a greater level of choice.”

The City of London has the lion’s share of new construction starts (26) taking the City’s development pipeline to 8.2 million sq ft. However, in relative terms the Midtown market boasts the greatest jump in development activity, up by 58% in just six months. The nine new office schemes will collectively provide 1.2 million sq ft of space and represent the highest volume and number of new starts ever recorded for the Midtown market in a crane survey. Elsewhere across central London, both Southbank and King’s Cross recorded two new starts each, and the West End has seen 12 new starts.

Lewis continues: “This survey highlights the balance between supply and demand. With five years of previously low construction levels limiting businesses’ choice of space, pre-completion lettings are on the rise. Nearly six million sq ft, or 42%, of space currently under construction is already let, that’s up from 38% in six months. This is largely driven by the financial and technology, media and telecoms sectors, which have signed for 2.3 million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of space respectively.

“Two decades is an incredibly long time in this fast evolving office market, so what can we learn? Rapid advances in technology, combined with a new generation entering the workforce, and changing business structures mean that the way in which offices are used will continue to change. Businesses will increasingly seek providers who can offer real estate as a service.”

Will Matthews, head of research at Deloitte Real estate, says: “Over the past 20 years our crane surveys have tracked the development of more than 76 million sq ft of office space, and charted the rise of new office locations across central London, such as Canary Wharf and King’s Cross. This survey reveals an unprecedented number of new schemes and, with many more sites under demolition, we expect to see the pipeline rise further to almost 16 million sq ft by the end of this year.”


Notes to editors

About the London Office Crane Survey
Deloitte Real Estate’s London Office Crane Survey was first published 20 years ago, and is updated every six months, with the last edition released in November 2015. The data in this report is correct as at 31 March 2016, and covers seven major central London office markets: The City, Docklands, King’s Cross, Midtown, Paddington, Southbank, and the West End.

Deloitte Real Estate’s collection of central London development data commenced in 1985, and the first London Crane Survey was published in 1996.

The crane survey is the definitive review of office construction in central London, and is seen as a barometer of developer sentiment and future office supply. The report measures the volume and impact of office development (new build, or significant office refurbishments, of 10,000 sq ft or more) currently taking place across central London and analyses the pipeline of future development over the next five years.
Deloitte Real Estate’s commercial property research team is focused on producing thoughtful and insightful publications, as well as comprehensive bespoke reports for investors, developers and occupiers.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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