Antwerp office prices on the rise
Cushman & Wakefield Belgium opens new branch in Antwerp
Brussels, 25 June 2019 – The Antwerp regional office market is the largest office market in Flanders and the second biggest in Belgium, a fact that can be seen in the asking prices for office space. It has emerged from a recent report by property consultancy and service provider Cushman & Wakefield Belgium that, at 155 euros per square meter per year, Antwerp's prime rent1 is the highest in Flanders. 'Antwerp is the economic engine of Flanders when it comes to international trade, thanks to the Port of Antwerp,' says Eric Van Dyck, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Antwerp. 'That also makes it unique as a location for offices in Belgium and explains why the rates for the most modern and the latest Antwerp offices are the highest of all the Flemish cities.'
Cushman & Wakefield Belgium aims to take full advantage of the maturity of this regional office market, which is why it has decided to open a new branch in the harbour city. The new branch has already hit the jackpot through the rental of office space to the Dutch company, Jumbo.
Highest prime rent in Flanders
The Antwerp regional office market is the largest one in Flanders and comes in at second place for Belgium, with the metropolis holding 2,302,000 square meters in office space, accounting for 54 percent of the total Flemish office market.
In recent years this market has achieved some degree of maturity and growth has been stable, with the Antwerp regional office market growing annually by two percent over the last 15 years, gaining 127,000 square meters of office space each year on average.
Office rental prices likewise reflect that growth, and the latest high-tech offices in Antwerp will set you back 155 euros per square meter per year – the highest prime rent in Flanders. Meanwhile, in other major Flemish cities such as Ghent and Leuven, you might pay 150 euros per square meter per annum, while in Mechelen the rates stand at 145 euros.
Office blocks are selling like hot cakes
It is also striking that at present the Antwerp office market has the lowest vacancy rate in 15 years (5.32 percent compared to 9.92 percent in 2017). The most popular locations include the city centre and De Singel, areas that contained 70 percent of all the Antwerp office space in 2018. 'Antwerp is the economic engine of Flanders when it comes to international trade, thanks to the Port of Antwerp,' Eric Van Dyck, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Antwerp, explains why companies are grabbing the available office space in Antwerp. 'That also makes it unique as a location for offices in Belgium and explains why Antwerp offices are in demand.'
Aside from the healthy figures in Antwerp, other regional office markets are also growing at a rapid rate. 'The big driver behind the maturity of the regional office markets is mobility,' says Van Dyck. 'People are no longer automatically prepared to commute to Brussels, which is why we have seen a growth in cities such as Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen.'
An inadequate supply of modern offices is the major challenge
The Antwerp office market is characterised by a skewed relationship between supply and demand. The primary target in Antwerp for companies is modern and new office space (what are known as Grade A buildings ), but are having to deal with aging buildings. Three-fourths of all office space is made up of Grade C space .
'The biggest challenge for the Antwerp office space is to raise the pipeline to new and modern offices and to maintain that level,' Van Dyck adds. 'We have noticed a trend in recent years where old offices are converted into residential buildings instead of renovating them and keeping them as office space.'
New Cushman & Wakefield Belgium office in Antwerp
Cushman & Wakefield Belgium has not missed the maturity of the Antwerp regional office market, and the property consultancy and service provider consequently decided to open a new office in Antwerp South so that it could improve its focus on the market for office space, in conjunction with the semi-industrial and logistics market.
'We were already talking about opening an office in Antwerp 25 years ago, but at the time we concluded that the circumstances were not optimal,' says Eric Van Dyck. 'But times have changed and we have seen companies increasingly looking to set up shop in city centres such as Antwerp, in view of mobility.'
Cushman & Wakefield Antwerp has already successfully overseen a number of rentals in the Antwerp office market, and it guided the Dutch company Jumbo when it leased 530 square meters of office space in Brasschaat. The office is set to be Jumbo's Belgian administrative headquarters.
Head of Marketing & Communication Belgium - Luxembourg