Office letting activity by the banking sector in Europe increased by 17% last year to reach 850,000 m² (compared with 2004s 702,000 m² ), according to Cushman & Wakefield.
Total take-up, by all sectors, was 7.7 million m² in 2005, compared with 6.9 million m² in 2004. In the last six months of 2005, the banking sector, the most active sector in Europes key cities, accounted for 13% of all letting activity up from 9% in the first half of 2005.
Guy Douetil, who heads Cushman & Wakefields European Banking Group, says: The increase in letting activity by Europes banking community is part of a continued expansion in activity over the past few years, and we are expecting it to continue this year as well. Europes banking industry has shown strong performance following a sustained period of low interest rates, while at the same time Europes key banking players are repositioning themselves amid growing consolidation in the sector.
The greater Paris region of Ile de France once again saw the highest take-up, at 233,900 m² of space. One of the key transactions in Paris was the letting of 21,000 m² to CACEIS, which is jointly owned by Crédit Agricole and Groupe Caisse dEpargne.
Ile de France is followed by Brussels, where in the second half of last year, Dexia took the decision to occupy its own 85,000 m² building, part of a consolidation of the banks requirements in Brussels. In addition, in the last quarter, Fortis Bank took 12,200 m².
Regarding London, Bill Peach, Chairman of Cushman & Wakefields City office, comments: Take-up last year in the City of London totalled about 90,000 m², but there are a number of positive signs that the banks have now re-occupied existing surplus space and are now seeking new offices, included specialist trading facilities in many cases. The take-up in 2006 is therefore likely to be higher, but this should be tempered by the overall reduction of Grade A stock which in turn will herald the return of pre-lettings to the London market.
Source: Cushman & Wakefield