Market activity remained at low level in Q4 with 78,000 sq m of take-up recorded, despite a relatively important number of transactions observed. For the whole 2013, take-up stands at 397,000 sq m, a 6% fall compared to 2012.
Some important office projects have entered the market in 2013, namely the Pole Star and the BelAir. But, despite these new deliveries, the Brussels office stock has declined for the first time. Office reconversions into other functions and office redevelopments (which exit the stock during the demolition / reconstruction process) have been more than new supplies.
Vacancy continued to fall during 2013 to establish itself at 10.7% at the end of the year, coming from 11.1% one year ago. This movement is noticed in all the Brussels office submarkets even if important disparities still exist between districts and should witness very different evolutions in the coming months.
The combination of elements such as the trend to reduce space occupation, the relatively low level of take-up and the diminution of the office stock has contributed to a negative net absorption in 2013 despite a low increase of the employment. This will undoubtedly constitute a major trend in the coming years and could lead to further diminution of the (occupied) office stock despite an increase of employment.
Prime rents remained stable in Q4. 2014 should see an increase in the prime rents as the increasing scarcity of available office buildings and the low level of speculative new supply could lead to an upward movement as the competition for the most efficient buildings could rise. Conversely, the weighted average rent should observe a downward movement due to the importance of empty spaces in the most aged buildings which offer attractive rental conditions.
Source : DTZ (Groupe UGL)