Global real estate consultant JLL, which tracks Dublin office market deals, indicates that total take-up of space in Q2 was close to 200,000 sq ft. This is a significant increase from the 45,000 sq ft recorded in Q1, but is still below the average quarterly volumes we have become accustomed to in the last few years.
The largest deal in Q2 was the letting at 6 Pembroke Row to the OPW, which totalled over 27,000 sq ft.
Head of Research at JLL Ireland said that, "A key issue impacting office take-up so far in 2021 has been the strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions for Ireland. With construction sites remaining entirely closed for all of Q1 and part of Q2, it has been difficult for tenants to commit to decisions on signing leases, with a lack of clarity around when they could get on-site with their office fit-out. Decisions around office occupation have therefore been stalled whilst government guidance has been to remain 'working-from-home' and whilst construction sites were entirely closed."
On a more positive note, Hannah added that, "It is positive to see an increase in activity in Q2 after a particularly quiet Q1. It signals the beginning of a return to normality for the Dublin office market, as back-to-work strategies are starting to place an emphasis on office space requirements again. There has been an increase in enquiries and inspections of properties by occupiers looking for office space, and this is expected to further increase as international travel restrictions ease in July. In addition, the news of numerous job announcements by large corporates will ultimately translate into office requirements and people working back in office buildings. Our conversations with office occupiers are a signaling a return to office space for most companies in the next 6 months, with most suggesting a phased return from September onwards"
Hannah also added that, "In addition to the deals that closed in the last 3 months, it is encouraging to see that over 700,000 sq ft of space is reserved and likely to close in the next 6 months which will further boost year-end take-up. That said, 2021 year-end volumes are expected to remain below long-term averages, with approximately 1 million sq ft of deals expected by year-end".