The economy showed better-than-expected growth in the three months to August with growth of 0.3% allaying fears of a technical recession after the negative growth experienced in the second quarter of the year. Employment remained high, with 75.9% of the population in work at the end of August. CPI inflation is at 1.7%, below the Bank of England’s target rate. The economy is proving resilient, although momentum appears to be slowing, particularly in the service sector which failed to expand.
In London, leasing volumes remained relatively stable at 3.1 million sq ft and marginally above the five-year quarterly average level. In the UK regions, availability fell for the seventh consecutive quarter; at the end of Q3 2019 there was 7.5 million sq ft available to lease, 22% below the five-year average.
The occupier market remained resilient in Q3, with take-up to date on a par with its long-term average. Meanwhile, investment activity has slowed, with many investors waiting on the sidelines for Brexit uncertainty to clear.
During Q3, take-up rose by 15% y-o-y to reach 8.6 million sq ft. At 24 million sq ft, take-up in the first nine months of the year is in line with recent years. Approximately £1.4bn transacted in Q3, leaving year-to-date volumes 29% lower than the corresponding period last year.
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