By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Vacant question


Chatting to property consultant Richard Main, Astragal became aware of an area of the office market that is rarely discussed: when empty property is not available. In normal surveys, the assumption is that unoccupied space is ready for letting, as indeed it often is. But there are many occasions when the owner or lessee is not anxious to find a tenant. It is known, for example, that there are large amounts of space vacant at Canary Wharf, but you cannot rent them because the bank occupiers think they might need the space in two years' time, or because there are questions of security or privacy that are more important than getting extra rental income. This 'grey market' is significant because it acts as a break or a fillip to the rental market, depending on conditions.

And, of course, it affects the question of the appropriate vacancy rate for a given market, said to be between 8 and 12 per cent. Grey space could have a big impact on that, but no one ever talks about it. Strange.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters