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Oil and gas sector boosts take-up of offices

ABERDEEN enjoyed record annual take-up of office space last year, as demand was fuelled by the buoyancy of the North Sea oil and gas sector, property consultancy CBRE has calculated.

The latest Scottish Offices report from CBRE, published yesterday, also showed rises last year in take-up of space in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

According to CBRE, take-up of office space in Aberdeen hit a high of 830,404 sq ft in 2012, up from 736,000 sq ft in 2011. CBRE said total available office stock continued to diminish in Aberdeen. It put available office space at 480,000 sq ft – the lowest recorded since 2000.

A spokeswoman for CBRE noted the take-up of office space in Aberdeen in 2011 had been nearly double that in 2010.

The property consultancy highlighted the boost to North Sea activity and consequently demand for office space from high oil prices and Treasury measures to promote investment in oil and gas fields.

CBRE said: "Demand largely stemmed from a persistent high oil price of between $100 and $110 (per barrel) throughout H2 (the second half of 2012).

"In addition to this, new Treasury measures to promote investment in new and existing fields has led to a significant increase in activity in the North Sea, resulting in a strengthening in demand in the Aberdeen office market."

It added: "To be able to attract and retain the best staff, companies are having to create superior working environments for staff, which means there will continue to be demand for high-quality, well-located office buildings both in the city centre and out of town."

CBRE said take-up of office space in Glasgow last year amounted to 374,617 sq ft, up 13% on 2011.

It added that demand for space in Glasgow had come mainly from the business and financial services sectors, which respectively accounted for 28% and 29% of 2012 floorspace take-up.

CBRE meanwhile observed that "considerable consolidation and structural changes" in the legal sector had resulted in demand for office space from law firms.

Total availability of office space in Glasgow declined by 2% during the second half of last year, to 2.19 million sq ft.

CBRE said that only 16% or 347,821 sq ft of this supply was prime. It added: "This shortage is putting pressure on occupiers looking to move into the best space in the best locations as there is now limited choice."

CBRE noted Glasgow was "one of a very few areas" of the UK, outside London and south-east England, in which speculative development would start this year.

The consultancy calculated take-up of office space in Edinburgh in 2012 at 773,059 sq ft. It said 2012 was the strongest year for take-up of office space in the Scottish capital since 2004.

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