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Investment volume on the Warsaw office market hit a record high of €1.7 billion

Michał Wachowicz (1 / 3)
In 2018, investment volume on the Warsaw office market hit a record high of €1.7 billion across 28 transactions, according to a summary of 2018 on the Warsaw office market presented by Cushman & Wakefield. Office yields were below 5%, and thus the lowest on record.

“Investment activity hit a record high on the Polish commercial real estate market in 2018, surpassing the €7 billion mark. The office market also set new highs with its investment volume at €2.6 billion, accounting for 37% of 2018’s total and reflecting a growth of 88% year-on-year,„ says Michał Wachowicz, Consultant, Capital Markets, Cushman & Wakefield. “The Warsaw office market boasted the strongest investment activity totalling €1.7 billion with 28 transactions closed in 2018. Other Polish cities saw 13 deals for a total of €850 million.„

“2018 was also a record-breaking year in terms of office yields which in Warsaw broke the barrier of 5.0%, standing at 4.75%, an all-time low in the history of the Polish commercial real estate investment market. Of all regional cities, Krakow saw the highest values with prime office yields at 5.75%,„ Wachowicz added. “Given the strong performance of the Polish economy and availability of investment product, we expect the office investment market to continue its bull run in 2019 with prime office yields likely to compress further for Class A office buildings with long-term leases.”

At the end of 2018, Warsaw’s total office stock stood at 5.46 million sqm. Despite last year’s supply gap, which is expected to carry into 2019, new supply totalled 232,700 sqm delivered across 20 office projects, down by 70,000 sqm on the five-year average for 2012–2017. Last year’s largest completions on the Warsaw market included Proximo II (19,950 sqm), Equator IV (19,200 sqm) and Centrum Biurowe Koneser (17,300 sqm).

“At year-end 2018, there was nearly 730,000 sqm of office space under construction. Of that total, more than 82% was underway in central locations. New office supply is, however, expected to be relatively low at 230,000 sqm in the next twelve months. In addition, supply forecasts for 2020 have been revised downwards as delivery of several large-scale projects has been postponed to 2021,” said report author Jan Szulborski, Consultant, Consulting and Research, Cushman & Wakefield.

Office take-up hit a record high in 2018 with 858,000 sqm transacted, which represented a 4% increase on 2017. Key lease transactions included Deloitte’s 22,100 sqm renegotiation at Q22, WeWork’s 14,200 sqm deal in Mennica Legacy Tower’s western building and Cambridge Innovation Center’s lease at Varso II.

At the end of 2018, Warsaw’s vacancy rate stood at 8.7%, down by 2.9 pp year-on-year, the lowest since 2012. Robust occupier activity was reflected in high office absorption which hit 345,000 sqm in 2018, only slightly below the level posted in the peak year 2017. Despite the low vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2018, prime headline rents remained flat at €23.5–23.75/sqm/month in Warsaw’s Central Business District.

“The Warsaw office market witnessed several major and positive developments in 2018. Gross take-up was exceptionally high at around 858,000 sqm, while absorption amounted to 345,000 sqm and was 50% higher than the new supply at the end of 2018. This pushed the city’s vacancy rate down to a historic low of 8.7%. In addition, developers enjoy favourable conditions and are driven to break ground on new projects by the growing activity of coworking operators, a large share of expansions in office take-up and a rising number of firms gaining a foothold in Warsaw. A stable office supply growth is a critical factor for the Warsaw market. A market where tenants have choice will grow at a rapid pace as availability of office space has a positive, tangible effect on demand. Given the current low vacancy rate, a paucity of offices which could begin to cause concern is likely to result in weaker leasing activity in the long term,” said Krzysztof Misiak, Partner, Head of Office Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.