The office agency market remains steady, with stable performances in the regional centres of Norwich, Ipswich and Peterborough.
Cambridge continues to show particularly healthy growth and confidence, with take up levels increasing and supply falling significantly, most notably in the northern cluster business parks. The occupational market is underpinned by the robust life sciences sector which saw strong laboratory Design and Build demand in 2013.
It is estimated that Cambridge office availability fell between 15 – 20% last year with prime rental growth touching £34.00 per sq ft in the city centre, and consolidating at between £21.50 – 24.00 per sq ft in the business parks to the north. Little to no speculative stock is realistically anticipated so it is expected that rents will harden and rent free periods shorten soon. Although still being calculated for the city, take up is estimated to hit around 650,000 – 700,000 sq ft which is easily in excess of the annual average of circa 400,000 – 450,000 sq ft.
Ipswich values may rise in 2014 due to the limited availability of stock. The latter part of 2013 saw improving sentiment and more enquiries and this has continued. Investment yields have dropped as investors focus on provincial towns, away from the increasingly competitive London market.
Our professional teams report increasing activity with a steady rise in the number of valuation instructions. Landlord and tenant work is also in demand as the market begins to recover and rents start to rise across the region. A significant increase in the number of third party referrals demonstrates the improving commercial market in the East.