West End offices 'second most expensive in the world'
Prime rents of West End offices climbed by nine per cent during the first half of 2011, making corporate space in this area of London the second most expensive in the world.

The rise in rents took the typical cost to £92.50 per sq ft a year during the fourth quarter of 2011, just below table leader Hong Kong, where the average rent stood at £97.11 per sq ft per annum, a new report from Knight Frank has revealed.

In 2010, prime rents for London offices in the West End soared by 31 per cent. Between the first and second halves of last year, they remained relatively unchanged, but still robust enough to beat all other destinations except Hong Kong.

Taking the third spot for the final quarter of 2011 was Tokyo in Japan, where the typical prime rent last year was £76.93 per sq ft a year, followed by Moscow, Russia (£72.13), Paris, France (£64.60), Singapore (£56.71) and Perth, Australia (£55.96).

At the bottom of the Knight Frank list of global central business district office rents was Vienna, Austria, where a firm typically paid £22.88 per sq ft annually during last year's fourth quarter. Brussels in Belgium (£22.96) and Warsaw, Poland (£23.91) ranked just above it.

The report noted prime rents look set to weaken in Hong Kong in 2012 due to reduced demand for offices, although the high costs witnessed during 2011's final three-month period marked a 28 per cent rally on the previous year.

It added Perth as a new entrant to its top ten, as a result of falling availability of prime offices and a robust resources sector.

London is not just enjoying a buoyant office sector, but a retail one also. A recent Jones Lang LaSalle study placed the UK's capital at the top of 55 cities for the leading cross-border retail destination, beating destinations such as Paris, Madrid, Milan and Rome.

Posted by David Hudek

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