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LONDON-Office rents in Hampshire’s two main centres are soaring according toresearch published today by agency Austin Adams.

The Austin Adams ‘QuarterlyTracker,’ has identified a last quarter jump of 6% in Portsmouth and 8% inSouthampton with headline rents peaking at £16 ($22.24) per sf and £20 ($27.80) per sfrespectively. Smaller increases of 3% were recorded in Fareham andWinchester.

Austin Adams director Ian Hillman said that he was confident thatcurrent demand would continue to drive rents upward. He said, ‘Occupierstaking space in 2001 are not “whizz-bang” technology businesses but strongservice sector companies, many of which already have an existing presence inthe region. Hillman cited the letting of Liberty House in Commercial Road,Southampton to Skandia Life at £20 ($27.80) per sf as indicative of the innatestrength of the local market.

With no new office buildings available in Southampton City centredeveloper City estates is likely to bring forward its proposed office schemeat Mayflower Plaza while West Park House, originally intended for short termlettings, is offering 17,550 sf on an institutional lease.

Hillman said, ‘The signal for developers is clear- with blue chip demandrunning at a 10 year high, occupiers are not going to be able to find whatthey want from existing stock.’

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