Figures from the first quarter of 2021 show that the take-up volumes were below the long-term average for the first time in eighteen months.
The total office take-up volume showed the strongest decline compared to one year ago (58%). One important reason is negative business confidence during the pandemic. This parameter turned positive again for the first time in Q2, creating a positive expectation for the future. This is boosted by the number of applications for flexible workspaces (source: Workthere). This is a strong indicator because these figures are showing an ‘early cyclical’ response. In the first three months of 2021, the number of search requests for flexible office space was 44% higher than in the same pre-COVID period in 2020. A frequently discussed topic is the possible change of the function of offices and associated effects on take-up volumes. As of yet, this is not reflected in the take-up behaviour of users.
It is striking that the number of take-ups of shops in 2020 was considerably higher than in the previous years (57% above the long-term average). The growth of supermarkets played an important role in this. Add to this that many shops proved able to stay viable thanks to government support. The question is whether these companies can compete with the fast-growing e-commerce sector, now that there will no longer be any government support. Due to the rise of e-commerce, the office space market, driven by logistics, is able to profit financially. This market continues to pick up steam. After a solid 2020, 2021 has also started out well for this sector: 76% of the total real estate take-up volume in 2021 YTD concerned logistics.
All things considered it could be said that, although the take-up volume in 2021Q1 was relatively low, economic factors predict a speedy recovery. As a result, the forecast for 2021Q2 shows that the take-up volume will come out above average again. International investors are well aware of this fact.
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