Conjunctural and structural factors affecting national transaction dynamics
Amsterdam, October 3, 2022 - Figures from international real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield show that absorption of new office space at the end of the third quarter will come in at 595,000 m2, largely the same as the absorption in the same period last year (614,000 m2). And while a rock-solid fourth quarter closed 2021, this is not in line for the final quarter of 2022 - which is dominated by uncertainties. The result for the third quarter is muted transaction dynamics in the Dutch office market.
The (temporary) lifting of most of the corona measures resulted in an annual absorption of over 1 million square meters in 2021. The second half of 2022 is dominated by increased uncertainties: on the one hand, due to a real fear of recession associated with persistent inflation, rising interest rates, historic decline in purchasing power and war on the European continent. On the other hand, it is still unclear to many organizations what impact corona has had on the balance between current and future office use and working from home. These cyclical and structural trends are causing office-based organizations to be predominantly wait-and-see in defining their accommodation needs. These organizations prefer to postpone transactions, which will likely result in muted absorption volume as the end of 2022 approaches.
Business cycle varies by sector
Office users in the various sectors show a different picture. For example, commercial organizations, predominantly sailing on indicators such as consumer confidence, are currently adopting a more cautious housing policy than government or non-profit institutions, for example. They are less dependent on cyclical daily rates and have now completed their post-covid housing strategy. However, the latter does not apply to the (very) large office-based organizations that have not yet decided on the new division between working in the office and working from home. Stimulated by cyclical risks, more time is being taken to monitor occupancy and use of workplaces and housing decisions are being postponed.
War for talent and prospect of energy label C
In the high-quality top locations in the Netherlands, the dynamics in the office market are driven, among other things, by the war for talent. A new generation of employees wants to work in a vibrant and lively urban environment. In the current tight labor market, companies are therefore making other demands on their office buildings. In addition, rising energy costs and the Dutch government's upcoming obligation of at least energy label C by 2023 play a role. Office users are more likely to opt for sustainable office space. Together, this creates a major competition for the best office space. In Amsterdam, offices in the city center and at the Zuidas are especially favored among prospective users. New supply that has become available at these locations in the course of this year is generally being filled quickly at historically high rent levels.
The CBD in Utrecht is also experiencing continued high demand for high-quality office space. This demand has resulted in virtually all recently completed office space being leased. Currently, the combination of the current high search demand and the completion date of newly constructed offices creates a mismatch between current demand and future supply and leads to muted absorption dynamics.
The largest transaction from the third quarter of 2022 came in the name of the Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, which purchased approximately 20,000 m² on the Maanplein in The Hague for the accommodation of various government departments, followed by the establishment of oil and gas company TotalEnergies also in the Hofstad a 7,500 m². In Den Bosch, design agency Stichd leased approximately 6,000 new office square meters to be realized at Zuidwal and cyber security company Palo Alto also signed a lease for 6,000 m² in the Valley on Amsterdam's Zuidas.
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Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 52,000 employees in over 400 offices and approximately 60 countries. In 2022, the firm had revenue of $10.1 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. Learn more at www.cushmanwakefield.nl and on LinkedIn.