Occupier activity expected to moderate in 2019

Global occupier activity reached its highest level of the current cycle in 2018 at 43 million square metres, reflecting the strength of corporate demand. However, there are signs of headwinds emerging as global economic growth tempers, with employment gains in Europe slowing and the announcements of layoffs from some large private companies in the U.S. during the fourth quarter. While occupier markets remain resilient and many tenants continue to be in growth mode, activity is unlikely to match the levels seen over the last two years during 2019.

JLL’s forthcoming Future of Work survey highlights a number of defining themes for occupiers globally:

  • Technology: The transformation of the workplace through technology is emerging as the largest focus of investment over the next three years within corporate real estate budgets, with companies dedicating significant levels of funding to incorporate smart technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and apps to help drive the innovation agenda. As IoT allows building systems and services to be automated and connected, the ability to improve service quality while reducing cost increases rapidly.
  • Flexibility: The demand for flexible, agile workplaces is transforming corporate portfolios as flex space becomes an integrated component of portfolio strategy. The provision of flexible working arrangements and focus on service and amenities is becoming increasingly recognised as a key differentiator in employee attraction and retention. This will continue to drive growth in the sector, with the proportion of portfolios in flexible space expected to rise from 19% on average currently to over 30% over the next two years.
  • Innovation: There are growing demands for real estate to help drive the innovation agenda within corporations by fostering an ecosystem that contributes to the development of new products and fuels growth. Partnership strategies – teaming up with other innovative companies to co-create new solutions – is expected to have the greatest impact, while many progressive companies are also looking to invest in start-ups to increase their in-house capabilities.

Find out about how coworking and other flexible real estate solutions are reshaping the U.S. office market in our latest research report.


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