Berlin Tops Europe’s Office Markets—Still

A strong economy and job growth keep the German capital at the head of Scope Analysis GmbH’s latest survey of rental rate growth in 20 leading cities.
Berlin

Rental rate growth indicates that Europe’s office market continues to thrive, and Berlin remains at the head of the list, according to Scope Analysis GmbH’s new Scope Investor Services Europe Top 20 Office Markets 2018 report.

The robust economy and strong job growth are behind the ongoing success of Europe’s office market. The proof is in the numbers. Top-ranked Berlin’s five-year rental forecast is for 3.5 percent growth. The German capital leads the list despite the fact that the yearly growth prediction is half that of the 2013-17 average annual increase of 7.1 percent.

“Berlin’s strong if slowing growth, particularly compared with other Germany cities, stems in large part from its healthy labour market,” according to the Scope report. Office jobs increased by 4.5 percent annually over the last three years.

Madrid and Amsterdam hold the second and third spots on Scope’s top 20 list, with projected annual rental growth of 3.4 and 3.2 percent, respectively. Amsterdam, coming off a 2.5 percent average rental growth for the 2013-2017 period, is experiencing the fastest acceleration in rents, making the city Europe’s most dynamic office property market. “The Dutch city clearly benefits from its international stature and reputation as a ‘smart city’. Amsterdam is especially adept at creating attractive conditions for the tech sector and its start-up scene,” the report said.

London places at the very bottom of the rankings this year.  The U.K. capital’s tumble to the No. 20 spot is a result of the city’s five-year rental growth forecast of just 1 percent. As noted in the report, “[London] was a frontrunner in the current cycle, but the impact on sentiment and economic activity of the 2016 vote to leave the EU and subsequent uncertainty over Brexit has put an end to the property boom and skyrocketing rents.”

SCANT ACCOMMODATIONS

Of the 20 leading European cities Scope evaluated, 14 have vacancy rates that are at a 10-year low, with top-ranked Berlin recording a vacancy rate of just 2.5 percent. “Favourable economic conditions and dynamic job creation are leading to higher demand for office space and a vibrant rental market in Europe. One consequence is that several major cities are seeing a severe shortage in office space,” per the report.

Munich and Paris also logged vacancies below 3 percent. Hamburg and Vienna saw numbers in the 4 percent range, and London recorded an average vacancy rate in the area of 5 percent. Only Milan, Helsinki and Warsaw recorded vacancies exceeding 10 percent, with Warsaw’s approximately 13.5 percent vacancy rate being the highest.

Developers are responding to the cry for more work space. Becken Development GmbH is building a 102,000-square-foot, multi-tenant tower in Berlin. Groupama Immobilier will erect The Link, a 1.3 million-square-foot office tower, in Paris. And recently, SIGNA Prime Selection AG revealed that it has been chosen to construct Elbtower, a 1.1 million-square-foot, 765-foot office and retail skyscraper that will be the tallest tower in Hamburg.

Looking ahead, Scope expects office demand to remain strong in Europe, although momentum will stabilize. New construction will continue on a moderate upswing to accommodate the need for office square footage. And rental rates? “As supply and demand only balance each other out gradually, growth in office rents will remain strong,” the report said.