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The Business Magazine July 2024
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South East office market surges as occupier confidence rebounds, finds LSH

The Business Magazine article image for: South East office market surges as occupier confidence rebounds, finds LSH
One Station Hill, Reading
20 June 2024
One Station Hill, Reading

Activity in the South East office market is on the up as occupiers gain confidence to expand or relocate, new research from Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) shows.

Take-up in the region has risen significantly thanks to improving economic conditions and the arrival of more high-quality space into the market.

Following two strong quarters in Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, Q2 looks to be on course to deliver a third successive quarter of above trend take-up for the first time since 2017.

The return of large deals has been key to the revival – although the market is also busier, reflecting improving occupier sentiment and a healthier depth to the demand profile.

While consolidations still make up a good chunk of the demand profile, expansion proves to have played a much larger role, with more than half of deals in the past year involving an expansion of existing space.

The pharmaceuticals and health sector has had a strong showing, particularly in Guildford (where LGC Group pre-let the Priestley Building in Q2 2023) and Maidenhead (whose Tempo building is now home to Johnson and Johnson).

Rents have also seen strong growth, with Maidenhead, Basingstoke, Guildford and Reading among the top performers.

Ryan Dean, head of transaction services at LSH, said: “Despite ongoing caution from investors, the South East offices market is performing well, reflected in a tangible improvement in activity and strong rental growth for the very best space.

“Given the very limited pipeline of anticipated development starts, occupiers will need to move quickly to capture what remains of the prime space or risk missing out.

“Meanwhile, developers that can commit to plans early will benefit from strong latent demand for prime space in two years’ time.”

Charlie Lake, capital markets director at LSH, added: “The continued sell down by UK institutions, reducing their exposure to the South East offices, has unleashed considerable opportunity for active opportunity buyers.

“Pricing at the prime end of the market is starting to look extremely attractive relative to other sectors and, while secondary prices may have further to fall there are clear signs this period of pricing discovery is drawing to a conclusion.

“The recent increase in volumes will also provide a greater level of comparable evidence to inform valuations.”


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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