European office sector recovery gains momentum
Prime office rents remained unchanged over the quarter across the majority of the European markets. Of the 24 cities in Jones Lang LaSalle’s European Office Index, only 6 markets registered a change in rents: London continues to show exceptional performance with rents increasing by 5% over the quarter, driven by low supply and buoyant demand. Rents also increased in Edinburgh (+1.7%) and Frankfurt (+1.4%) given shortages of modern stock and healthy occupier activity.
Confirming more stable conditions, prime rents in Paris increased by 0.7%. Given this, and despite prime rental decreases recorded in Barcelona (-1.4%) and Milan (-2.2%) the European Office Index increased by 0.7% over the quarter, the strongest quarterly increase since mid-2011. Compared to a year ago, rents are on aggregate still 0.1% lower, but only 7 out of the 24 Index markets have lower prime rents today than twelve months ago.
The great degree of variance across the region is mirrored in Jones Lang LaSalle’s office clock, which shows a strong spread of markets across all four quadrants. The highest concentration of markets can however be found in the “rental growth slowing” quadrant, where the German, Russian and nearly all Nordic centres are located and the “rents bottoming out” quadrant, where many Central and South European markets are listed.
Going forward, a shortage of quality supply and improving occupier sentiment is expected to filter through to rental growth on aggregate. Over the course of 2014, the forecast recovery in economic activity and employment will further support rental levels and growth. Variable conditions will however continue.
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