With the region firmly establishing itself as a hub for 21st
century businesses, Bath has seen a 19% increase in office space take-up,
largely attributed to the media and tech sectors.
According to new data released by Carter Jonas at the launch of
its Bath and South West Commercial Edge research report, transactions on over
114,929 sq ft of office space were completed last year compared with 96,400 sq
ft in 2017.
Over the past decade, take-up across the city averaged just
under 100,000 sq ft per annum.
Philip Marshall, Partner at Carter
Jonas, said, “It
is encouraging to report such a strong year, with the amount of space
transacted reaching towards the top of the ten-year average. The city, however,
continues to suffer from a lack of quality supply and whilst our research
illustrates demand from a wide range of occupiers, actual take-up is being
suppressed and causing occupiers to look elsewhere.
“Businesses are placing greater
emphasis on the quality of a building, and its environment is now more
important than location alone. This is making it increasingly difficult to let
some lower quality space, as, despite high levels of overall demand, many
occupiers are looking for open plan space on a single floor. One consequence is
that businesses are becoming increasingly footloose between Bristol and Bath.”
Across Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Swindon and Taunton, commercial
property investment totalled £729M in 2018, a little above the £688M recorded
In Bath itself, investor demand remains strong for office stock,
but transaction volumes are being restricted by the lack of buying
opportunities, and there have been few sizeable transactions. In addition, industrial
stock levels are now critical according to the report, with few if any
opportunities for new development.
Alison William, Associate Partner, Carter Jonas, said, “Many companies working within the Bath market are now forced to seek opportunities outside of the city; the facilities are simply not available. For example, we saw Roper Rhodes acquire 200,000 sq ft at Portishead in Bristol, Hawker Joinery relocate its workshops to Frome, and AJ Removals fulfil its storage requirement at Hallatrow. However, it’s worth noting that, such is the supply and demand imbalance, should the opportunity for speculative construction arise, rents for small business units could easily top £12.50 per sq ft, well above the regional average for this type of space.”
Pictured: Philip Marshall, Partner at Carter Jonas.