2019 snapshot: Edinburgh office market holds its nerve

Some 650,000 square feet of office space was transacted in 2019, falling just 5 per cent short of the ten-year average for the city. Picture: Contributed
Some 650,000 square feet of office space was transacted in 2019, falling just 5 per cent short of the ten-year average for the city. Picture: Contributed
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Edinburgh’s office market held steady last year, despite many businesses opting to stay put instead of moving amid political and economic uncertainties.

Some 650,000 square feet of office space was transacted in 2019, falling just 5 per cent short of the ten-year average for the city, though ending up some way behind 2018’s final take-up figure of 1 million sq ft, according to property consultancy JLL.

It noted that, in the final three months of 2018, 111,000 sq ft of space was transacted.

Ben Reed, director at JLL in Edinburgh, said: “Occupiers were certainly more nervous about short-term economic prospects in 2019 due to Brexit and the general election.

“This type of uncertainty has been commonplace in Scotland over the past decade. It can knock confidence which is unquestionably bad for business. This led to many relocation decisions being put on hold in 2019.”

The number of office requirements logged in 2019 was equal to the number logged the year before. However, the number of viewings dropped by more than a third, suggesting occupiers were testing market conditions but not serious about progressing a relocation, JLL added.

There was a sharp rise in “re-gears” across the capital, with many occupiers choosing to stay put rather than relocate. Notable re-gears included Citi at Holyrood Park House, Aecom at Tanfield and JPI Media – owner of The Scotsman – at Orchard Brae House.

The next major new build completions include Capital Square by BAM in early 2020.

READ MORE: Edinburgh and Glasgow office markets hold up - latest CBRE report