Office-space provider Workspace has said it experienced a strong pick-up in activity last month as the UK gained momentum for the office return.
Customer demand improved in the second quarter with an an average of 935 enquiries and 138 lettings per month
Like-for-like rent roll was up 2.1 per cent in the first six months to £87.3m, with occupancy improving and pricing stabilising, the group said on Thursday.
Occupancy was up 2.7 per cent in the quarter to 85.6 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
A gradual return of office workers meant the use of Workspace facilities peaked at 56 per cent of pre-pandemic levels mid-week and 52 per cent over the week as a whole, by the end of September.
The group said pricing had stabilised, with like-for-like average rent per sq. ft. up 0.3 per cent in the second quarter to £35.50, after a 2.3 per cent fall in the first quarter.
It reported strong cash collection, with 97 per cent of rent due for the second quarter collected to date, ahead of the level collected at the same point in the previous quarter.
The group last month exchanged contracts to acquire Stapleton House, also known as ‘The Old Dairy’, in Shoreditch, for £43.38m. It also disposed of 13-17 Fitzroy Street for £92m.
It said it was well placed to continue to invest in acquisition opportunities £318m of cash and undrawn facilities and proforma LTV of 23 per cent.
Graham Clemett, chief executive officer, Workspace Group PLC, said: “It’s great to see London coming back to life, and our latest utilisation and occupancy figures show that London’s SMEs are leading the way back to the office and are optimistic about the future. These are positive signs of momentum and further proof that our truly flexible offering is resonating in the evolving working world.
“The pandemic has made people appreciate that not all offices are created equal. More than ever, the right office space in a great location with strong sustainability credentials and flexibility really matters to our customers and their employees. We’re perfectly positioned to benefit from this shift and we’re very excited about the future as we continue to expand our property footprint across London.”
The trading update comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged remote workers to ditch their home offices for city centres once more.