DTZ: Office occupancy costs forecast to increase across Europe to 2015 (EU)

Average occupancy costs in Europe will grow 2% year-on-year to 2015, according to the 14th edition of DTZ's annual 'Global Occupancy Costs: Offices' survey. Rental increases will drive the forecast rise in occupancy costs across Europe. Other outgoings, such as property taxes and service charges, are also set to increase.

However, occupiers will continue to benefit from substantial savings in many markets. Growth will be lower across Europe than will be seen globally, and by 2015, occupancy costs will remain 11.7% lower than at the peak in 2007.

DTZ's survey assesses the main components of occupancy costs in 121 business districts in 47 countries/territories across the globe, ranking each location based on annual costs per workstation in US dollars. It includes rents and outgoings, such as maintenance costs and property tax.

London's West End will be the fastest growing market in Europe over the next five years. Recovering demand, combined with supply constraints following reduced development activity, will continue pushing up rents. Occupancy costs are forecast to increase by 5.1% (US $5,730) per annum, to reach US $25,890 per workstation by 2015. This growth will see London's West End retain its position as the second most expensive office location in the world, behind Hong Kong.

CEE will also witness above average increases in occupancy costs. Moscow is forecast to see the biggest increase in occupancy costs to 2015, at 3.8% per annum, followed by Warsaw and Kiev. This reflects the strong economic outlook for the CEE region, combined with tighter supply of good quality buildings in the near term.

Of the more established markets in continental Europe, occupancy costs are forecast to increase fastest in Munich (2.8% per annum) and Paris CBD (2.7% per annum), where demand will outpace the limited availability of prime stock in the short term. This growth will see occupancy costs in Paris CBD edge closer to those in Geneva, the most expensive office location in continental Europe. Here, occupancy costs are forecast to reach US $19,220 per workstation by 2015.

Budapest and Bucharest will also see above-average growth in occupancy costs at 2.4% and 2.7% respectively per annum to 2015, but will remain the least expensive markets in Europe. Occupiers in Geneva and Benelux are expected to benefit from the lowest increases in occupancy costs in Europe over the next five years, below 1% per annum, due to limited scope for rental growth.

Magali Marton, Head of CEMEA Research at DTZ comments: "We expect increasing occupancy costs across Europe to be driven by rising rents, but rental growth is underpinned by varying factors. The rebound in global production and consumer spending is driving rental growth in Eastern European office markets. In London's West End and Paris CBD, recovering demand, combined with supply constraints following reduced development activity during the recession, is pushing up rents.

"We are already seeing an increase in property taxes and we expect these to increase over the forecast period. For example, in addition to rapidly increasing rents, occupiers in Stockholm and London have faced large increases in property taxes. Consequently, occupancy costs in these markets were among the fastest growing in Europe last year, rising by 21% in London City and almost 15% in Stockholm, in local currency. Geneva has a stable occupier base due in part to its favorable tax status, which has recently attracted a number of UK-based hedge funds to relocate in response to increased taxes in the UK."

James Maddock, Head of DTZ Occupier Services for EMEA said: "Occupiers can still benefit from cost savings in Europe. Although occupancy costs are forecast to increase, costs will still be considerably lower in 2015 than they were at the peak in 2007. Occupiers can control the rental aspect of their costs by carefully planning where they need to be located and how much prime space they need, and by using space efficiently, for example through the use of flexible working and shared services.

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