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Robust occupier activity pushed Warsaw’s office vacancy rate down to a record low in 2017

Krzysztof Misiak

International Partner

Phone +48 601334629

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2017 witnessed robust leasing activity that was driven largely by the financial services sector, which amid moderate supply pushed Warsaw’s office vacancy rate down to 11.7%, the lowest since Q3 2013. Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield presents an overview of the Warsaw office market in its latest report “Marketbeat. Warsaw Office Market. 2017 Summary.” 

Warsaw’s total office stock now stands at 5.28 million sq m and more than 855,000 sq m is expected to be added to the market in the next three years. In 2017, new supply totalled 275,400 sq m delivered across 27 buildings. It was close to the six-year average but approximately 132,000 sq m less than in the peak year of 2016. Last year’s largest office completions included: Business Garden II (54,800 sq m), West Station II (35,000 sq m) and D48 (23,400 sq m). The City Centre zone expanded to include the areas near Daszyńskiego Roundabout, Gdański Railway Station and Unii Lubelskiej Square. 

“Due to the relatively low volume of new space scheduled for delivery in 2018 and 2019, upcoming quarters will see a supply gap. This will be most pronounced in the case of tenants seeking office units of more than 5,000 sq m who will most probably need to put relocations or expansions on hold until 2020, when upwards of 430,000 sq m of new office space is expected to come on stream,” says Anna Kwiatkowska, Associate, Office Agency, Cushman & Wakefield. 

In 2017, the leasing volume totalled nearly 825,000 sq m, up by 9.8% on the previous year and a barely 1.7% lower than in the peak year of 2015. The largest lease transactions included Citi’s lease of 18,500 sq m at Generation Park X, Bank Millennium’s renewal of 18,300 sq m at the Harmony Office Centre and J.P. Morgan’s 15,500 sq m at Atrium Garden. “The record-high take-up noted in 2017 was largely driven by the robust activity of SSC/BPO tenants who following their rapid growth in regional cities began to appreciate a larger pool of high-skilled labour in Warsaw,” says Piotr Capiga, Associate, Office Agency, Cushman & Wakefield. 

The volume of vacant office space amounts to 615,700 sq m, of which 185,000 sq m is in the central zone, equating to 9.1% of that zone’s total stock, down by 6.1 percentage points compared to 2016. The highest vacancy rate of 23% was in the Żwirki i Wigury corridor and the lowest was in the North zone at 3.7%. Prime headline rents stand at EUR 23.5-23.75 per sq m per month in Warsaw’s Central Business District, ranging between EUR 17-19 per sq m per month in the City Centre West, which is seeing the strongest occupier activity. Office rents remained relatively flat at EUR 13-16.5 per sq m per month in non-central locations. 

“In 2017, we serviced three out of the five largest lease transactions. Last year’s highlights include a recordhigh take-up that hit more than 820,000 sq m, the falling vacancy rate - down to 11.7%, rapid business expansion and new tenants entering the market. Another notable development was a growing trend of employers implementing workplace solutions to enhance employee retention. There was also a surge of interest in Warsaw from co-working operators, including Mindspace, CIC, Brain Embassy, Rent24 and Spaces, 25 January 2018 in response to growing occupier demand,” says Krzysztof Misiak, Partner, Head of Regional Cities, Cushman & Wakefield.

 “The Warsaw office market will see a relatively low supply and low vacancy rates in 2018. Rents are likely to edge up due to falling availability of office space and rising labour and construction costs. Further to that, lease renegotiations will be on the rise due to the limited volume of vacant office space, says Richard Aboo, Partner, Office Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.