Recent reports from property investment and development company Great Portland Estates (GPE) show that there is still a demand for offices to rent in London, despite the current COVID-19 situation.
This comes as a relief after the UK government called for a lockdown in late March, forcing many businesses to work from home and prevent the spread of the virus.
There are now over a million coronavirus cases in total, countries all over the world doing what they can to encourage social distancing, slow the virus’s spread, and save lives.
The UK in particular have imposed a lockdown, where those living in the UK are to stay at home, only meet with their household, and only go outside for health reasons, food or work (only applicable for those who can’t work from home).
Additionally, all “non-essential” shops have been forced to close. This has led many businesses to stop working altogether, whilst many more continue to work from home, leaving the business hubs of London eerily empty.
Whilst these are all essential measures in tackling COVID-19 and saving the lives of those most vulnerable, it has led many to question the future of UK businesses, and its subsequent effect on the UK commercial property market.
GPE’s recent comments therefore come as some relief that the demand for London office space, and therefore London businesses, are continuing to survive. Toby Courtauld, chief executive of GPE, said that the company has had offers from those in private equity and finance, his comments posted in the Evening Standard revealing that:
“These companies expect life to return to normal eventually, and London to continue its position as one of the world’s greatest commercial centres.”
Whilst this is comforting news to all those in London’s property sector, Courtauld added that COVID-19 has still caused significant disruptions for the company. However, these issues, such as those surrounding rent, are being worked through on a case by case basis.