By Kristy Dorsey

Activity in Aberdeen’s office market picked up markedly between the second and third quarter of this year supported by a sustained increase in oil prices and a return of occupiers to the workplace.

According to figures from property consultant Knight Frank, take-up between July and September reached 51,316sq ft, almost double the near-26,000sq ft in the second quarter. The latest take-up was also well ahead of the 28,000sq ft recorded in the first quarter of this year.

The figures were boosted by Mental Health Aberdeen’s move to Langstane House, occupying nearly 12,000sq ft. Other deals concluded during the third quarter included Shepherd & Wedderburn’s move to 37 Albyn Place, and Kuehne+Nagel taking about 3.500sq ft at Aberdeen International Business Park in Dyce.

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The move by Shepherd & Wedderburn, together with the lease of an additional 2,000sq ft by accountancy firm Azets, means that 37 Albyn Place is now fully let. The address was previously the Aberdeen base of Big Four firm KPMG, which relocated to Marischal Square.

Although third quarter take-up was down on the same period in 2020, when approximately 80,000sq ft of office space was transacted, Knight Frank said more significant deals could follow in the final three months of 2021 to make for a positive end to the year.

“The last three months have seen an upturn in activity, as more occupiers return to the office and business starts to get back to some sort of normality,” said Matthew Park, office agency partner with Knight Frank in Aberdeen.

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“The oil price is still a big influence on the commercial property market in Aberdeen and the fact that is has stayed above $60 per barrel of oil equivalent for the last six months has also helped. There is a cautious and tentative optimism returning to the market, with several deal likely to conclude by the end of 2021.”

The Brent crude price hit a fresh three-year high earlier this week amid a surge in demand fuelled by the global recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic. Prices have improved by about 30 per cent since late August.

Among other big office deals announced during the third quarter, energy giant shell said it will move out of its current North Sea base in Tullos, with more than 1,000 staff re-locating to the Silver Fin building in Aberdeen's city centre.