UK office and retail vacancies rising at record pace

Brokers think the situation will get worse. (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal, photos via Getty)

Brokers think the situation will get worse. (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal, photos via Getty)

Vacant office and retail space in the United Kingdom is rising at a pace not seen since at least 1999, when the metrics were first kept.

The coronavirus has devastated the two sectors. The number of brokers reporting rising vacancies is the highest since the Great Recession, according to Bloomberg, citing a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Around 73 percent of respondents said they see retail vacancies rising, while 54 percent said they see office space emptying. Conversely, about seven in 10 said they see demand rising for industrial space and expect those rents to rise.

That’s in line with trends in the U.S., especially in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. Manhattan retail rents sunk to a record low in the fall and office leasing tanked.

New deliveries of retail and office space could be contributing to rising vacancy rates in the U.K., but some tenants are simply vacating. London-based serviced-office provider Workspace Group reported that 18 percent of its space was vacant at the end of 2020, up from 10 percent in late June.

Giles Hall, an asset manager at Orchard Street Investment Management, said that government intervention has staved off some of the pain.

“As the support and protection from debt recovery unwinds, I expect office and retail rents and values to fall further, unfortunately, as the full extent of tenant distress becomes clear,” he said.

[Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch 

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AmEx to employees: Don’t leave home…until Labor Day

AmEx to employees: Don’t leave home…until Labor Day

(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

It’ll be another winter, spring and summer at the home office for American Express employees in the U.S.

The financial services giant — whose longtime slogan was, “Don’t leave home without it” — told workers they can continue operating from home through Labor Day, according to Bloomberg.

CEO Stephen Squeri said the New York-based company would also help the city distribute Covid-19 vaccines to employees, although the company’s assistance has not yet been requested, the report noted.

AmEx, like many of New York’s large office tenants, sent most of its employees home last spring as the coronavirus took hold. Squeri said in a memo to employees that the early September return to the office timeline allows the company to monitor vaccine distribution and plan accordingly.

The exodus of workers has upended office markets, including in Manhattan, and frustrated landlords. New York leasing dropped dramatically last year and few office workers seemed willing to return to their buildings. Many large tenants in the city have not rushed people back, either.

Similar situations have been playing out in other major metros like Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. [Bloomberg] — Alexi Friedman

The post AmEx to employees: Don’t leave home…until Labor Day appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

AmEx to employees: Don’t leave home…until Labor Day

(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

It’ll be another winter, spring and summer at the home office for American Express employees in the U.S.

The financial services giant — whose longtime slogan was, “Don’t leave home without it” — told workers they can continue operating from home through Labor Day, according to Bloomberg.

CEO Stephen Squeri said the New York-based company would also help the city distribute Covid-19 vaccines to employees, although the company’s assistance has not yet been requested, the report noted.

AmEx, like many of New York’s large office tenants, sent most of its employees home last spring as the coronavirus took hold. Squeri said in a memo to employees that the early September return to the office timeline allows the company to monitor vaccine distribution and plan accordingly.

The exodus of workers has upended office markets, including in Manhattan, and frustrated landlords. New York leasing dropped dramatically last year and few office workers seemed willing to return to their buildings. Many large tenants in the city have not rushed people back, either.

Similar situations have been playing out in other major metros like Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. [Bloomberg] — Alexi Friedman

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But the commute is still great: US office occupancy at just 22%

But the commute is still great: US office occupancy at just 22%

(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Office buildings across the U.S. are still pretty empty.

In 10 major metropolitan cities, the average number of office workers who returned to their desks fell to 21.7 percent on Jan. 20, according to a new report by Kastle Systems International. Many companies are still taking a wait-and-see approach as coronavirus vaccinations continue their slow pace. American Express this week told workers to operate from home until Labor Day.

In New York, occupancy fell to 12.9 on Jan. 20, from 14 percent the week before, the Kastle study found. Meanwhile, Manhattan’s office availability in the fourth quarter hit a record high of 14.3 percent, according to a recent report from Colliers International.

In Chicago, which is suffering its own office market cataclysm, Kastle found that occupancy had dipped to 16.7 percent, from 18.5 percent the week before.

The lowest total of the 10 was in Washington, D.C., where just 10.2 percent of office buildings were occupied for the week of Jan. 20. That was a 9.5 percent fall from the 19.7 percent form the previous week.

Kastle calculated the percentages based on key fob and app access data compiled from employees in 2,681 buildings across 138 cities.

The situation was better in Texas. In Dallas, Houston and Austin, occupancy hit between 32 and 35 percent, making those the top three of the 10.

Still, all 9 of the 10 cities saw declines in occupancy from the previous week. The outlier was Los Angeles, which remained even at 26.4 percent.

The other three cities were Philadelphia, San Francisco and San Jose, California.

All is not lost, at least not for the workers. Some employees have cited working better from home. According to a survey from Edelman, 1 in 3 remote workers said they experienced an enhanced work-life balance.

In New York, real estate leaders, despite pushing for the return to the office, have admitted that there’s a long road ahead before things return to normal — or a new normal.

[contact-form-7]

The post But the commute is still great: US office occupancy at just 22% appeared first on The Real Deal South Florida.

But the commute is still great: US office occupancy at just 22%

(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Office buildings across the U.S. are still pretty empty.

In 10 major metropolitan cities, the average number of office workers who returned to their desks fell to 21.7 percent on Jan. 20, according to a new report by Kastle Systems International. Many companies are still taking a wait-and-see approach as coronavirus vaccinations continue their slow pace. American Express this week told workers to operate from home until Labor Day.

In New York, occupancy fell to 12.9 on Jan. 20, from 14 percent the week before, the Kastle study found. Meanwhile, Manhattan’s office availability in the fourth quarter hit a record high of 14.3 percent, according to a recent report from Colliers International.

In Chicago, which is suffering its own office market cataclysm, Kastle found that occupancy had dipped to 16.7 percent, from 18.5 percent the week before.

The lowest total of the 10 was in Washington, D.C., where just 10.2 percent of office buildings were occupied for the week of Jan. 20. That was a 9.5 percent fall from the 19.7 percent form the previous week.

Kastle calculated the percentages based on key fob and app access data compiled from employees in 2,681 buildings across 138 cities.

The situation was better in Texas. In Dallas, Houston and Austin, occupancy hit between 32 and 35 percent, making those the top three of the 10.

Still, all 9 of the 10 cities saw declines in occupancy from the previous week. The outlier was Los Angeles, which remained even at 26.4 percent.

The other three cities were Philadelphia, San Francisco and San Jose, California.

All is not lost, at least not for the workers. Some employees have cited working better from home. According to a survey from Edelman, 1 in 3 remote workers said they experienced an enhanced work-life balance.

In New York, real estate leaders, despite pushing for the return to the office, have admitted that there’s a long road ahead before things return to normal — or a new normal.

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