The latest data from global advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield shows Central London office take-up totalled 1.28 million square feet (MSF) in Q1 2021, a 117 per cent increase on the previous quarter and the highest since the beginning of lockdown in March last year.
All London markets saw an increase in activity as larger tenants committed to office space; there was 2.2 million square feet under offer at the quarter-end, suggesting continued strong take-up into the second quarter.
The legal sector represented the largest share of the 2021 Q1 take-up, accounting for 24 per cent of total volumes. The banking & financial sector continued to be active with a 23 per cent share of quarterly leasing volumes, followed by the media and tech sector , which accounted for a further 20 per cent.
Pre-letting continued to play an important role in the London leasing market, accounting for 27 per cent of total take-up across Q1 as occupiers are forced to look further ahead to secure the building they require. Two out of the top three occupier transactions in the first quarter of 2021 were pre-let schemes, including legal firm Latham Watkin and owner of multiple popular fashion brands PVH.
Ben Cullen, UK head of offices at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “As lockdown restrictions have eased, we have seen a noticeable strengthening of sentiment which has led to an increase in leasing activity. This quarter’s results strongly suggest that the market is firmly in the recovery phase after the slump in activity last year.”