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New build boosts Flanders office market

The Link in Antwerp has benefited from the appetite for new buildings (Image: Ghelamco).
The Link in Antwerp has benefited from the appetite for new buildings (Image: Ghelamco).

Broker JLL has published its report on the state of the Flanders office market over the first half of this year. It finds that projects have been booming this year, and have greatly contributed to take-up, accounting for 40% of the total.

JLL has recorded a total take-up of over 116,000 m² in the first half, within the five major markets of Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen, Leuven and Hasselt. While this figure is slightly down (-3.4%) on the same period in 2018, it is up by a substantial 30.6% compared to the five year average.

Where these individual markets are concerned, Antwerp of course leads the way with 52% of the total. Ghent accounts for a large proportion of the rest, with 35% of the total. And in terms of the sectors from which the take-up is coming, the good news, as JLL puts it, is that it is almost entirely without the public sector, with corporates accounting for 90% of all take-up in Flanders over the period.

The overriding demand for new buildings witnessed by the proportion of ‘projects’ in the figures, has led to certain projects – Post X and The Link in Antwerp at the head – being now virtually fully occupied. There has been a consequential increase in prime rents, Antwerp having seen its level rise from € 155/m²/year to € 160. Ghent is expected to follow suit with the same numbers, while Mechelen is only a little behind at € 150/m²/year (up 3.4%). Leuven has no speculative project on the market and ha thus seen its prime rent decline by 3.3%.

Where vacancy is concerned, JLL’s figures show that in Antwerp this stands at 8.05%, in Ghent at a mere 2.91%, in Mechelen at 7.16%, in Leuven at 5.14% and in Hasselt at 4.83%. Overall vacancy in these five markets is thus at its lowest for five years.
Tim Harrup

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