In 2009 approximately 2.0 million m² of office space was leased in the five major German office markets of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. This corresponds to a reduction of 29% when compared to 2008. The year-end deadline that has acted as an incentive to drive further deals in Q4 previous years did not have an impact in Q409. However, take-up stabilized but the cyclical downturn which had started almost a year prior did not see a significant upswing. In balance, 2009 was one of weakest years of the decade in terms of take-up of office space, only 2003 had recorded a comparably low result.
In consequence the reduction in take-up is reflected in the rental levels of the researched markets. In all markets both prime rents and average rents stand below their 2008 year-end level. Only in Düsseldorf the nominal rents remained relatively stable over the year. However, the Rhine metropolis had to face the sharpest decline in take-up. In total Düsseldorf achieved just half the figure of 2008 (- 53%), followed by Munich (- 33%), Frankfurt (- 29%) and Hamburg (- 26%). As predicted, Berlin was the strongest market and the letting performance dropped by 19% only. With the decline in take-up having faced increasing amounts of new office completions during 2009 vacancies climbed in all markets except for Berlin. On average approximately 10% of the office space in any of the five major German markets was vacant - this adds up to about 6.4 million m² and corresponds to almost the total office stock of the city zone of Düsseldorf.
"Market conditions will remain challenging in 2010. Companies looking for office accommodation are hesitant in taking decisions and have become increasingly price-sensitive," states Daniel J. Gedack, Managing Director responsible for office agency of Savills Germany. According to Gedack this is not least due to the vague economic prospects which in fact have recently started to improve but still entail a high degree of uncertainty. "Experience shows that it takes quite a number of months for the office market to respond to the effects of the national economy so we do expect another year of below-average letting performance and increasing vacancies," says Gedack.