Is it that time again already? We've just had a flood warning, half of Wales is underwater and Wimbledon is just around the corner, so it must be the great British summer. Everyone knows about the summer slowdown, those lazy weeks in August when everyone swaps their Church's brogues for flip flops. This year much has been made of whether the mix of a long Jubilee weekend, the Olympics and a sinking global economy all mean business is in for a quiet second quarter.
Well, one of the industry's best performing (possibly only performing??) regional markets already looks like it is slipping.
Cambridge had been doing so well. The market, supported by its science and biotech occupiers seemed, like London, to be immune to the ravages of the recession. But preliminary figures show that quarter two will register a slide in offices take-up. Carter Jonas has been crunching the numbers ahead of their Commercial Edge report and say that early figures for the half year will settle around the 100,000 sq ft mark. That's against last years total take up figure of nearly 600,000 sq ft. As Will Mooney, partner in the Cambridge offices says, they are going to have to go some to get near that level.
Between the end of quarter one and May 21 this year 30,650 sq ft of office space was let and over half of this was in the 2,000-5,000 sq ft bracket. The number of big deals - the ones over 5,000sq ft -is vastly down on Q1 at a touch under 32,500 sq ft compared to 5,000 sq ft to date this quarter.
What seems to fly in the face of all this is that quarter one enquiry levels are over double (and nearly triple) in some size brackets what they were in quarter one 2011. But, these are not quite translating into deals. Most of these enquiries are at the small end of the market which doesn't necessarily mean deals.
The feeling is, says Mooney, that with the Jubilee and the Olympics it will be a long summer and things might pick up in mid September but are very unlikely to reach last year's levels. That leaves all pining their hopes on the tail end of the year but Mooney's prediction is that it will Q1 2013 that benefits from any lag in decision making.
Picture by ChodHound on Flickr