LONDON-Office vacancies in central London have reached a five-year high as the economic downturn forces companies to reduce their space requirements, according to the latest figures from property adviser DTZ. Another 1.3 million sf of office space came to the market in November, 2001, pushing vacancies up to 14.2 million sf. At 7.1% the vacancy rate is now at its highest level since the beginning of 1997, yet as recently as 2000 the figure stood at 2%.

In the last two months office availability has risen by a third while demand for central London office space in is half what it was at the peak in July 2001. Total take-up in November was just 600,000 sf.

John Forrester, head of Central London Offices at DTZ said: ‘The most notable aspect of the substantial increase in availability in recent months is the shift in the balance of office space released by tenants against that by landlords. 70% of available space now comes from tenants reducing the amount of office accommodation they occupy as a result of the global economic slowdown. This trend is likely to continue.’

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