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Central London firms shrug off Brexit, office take-up rises 6 percent in third quarter

Central London firms shrug off Brexit, office take-up rises 6 percent in third quarter
FILE PHOTO: Construction work is seen on high-rise office blocks in the financial district of London, Britain, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo   -   Copyright  Phil Noble(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Office take-up in central London was 6 percent higher in the third quarter than a year earlier as businesses shrugged off uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the European Union, property consultancy Knight Frank said on Friday.

Firms in the British capital, a global hub for financial services, took 3.7 million square feet (344,000 sq m) of new space between July and September 2018.

“Despite all the talk of companies putting decision-making on hold until after the Brexit conclusion, this is clearly not what we are seeing in the Central London office market,” Will Beardmore-Gray, Head of Central London at Knight Frank, said.

Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019, but has yet to reach an agreement with the bloc’s negotiators on the terms of its departure, leaving open the possibility of an economically disruptive ‘no deal’ exit.

A Reuters survey found that only 630 UK-based finance jobs had been shifted or created overseas so far ahead of Brexit, while an exit without a deal could hit 5,766 jobs.

Over fifty percent of the offices being built in central London had already been pre-leased to tenants, Beardmore-Gray said, adding that there could be a “significant shortage” of high grade offices over the next three years.

Some of the biggest central London property deals in the third quarter were Facebook renting three buildings in the King’s Cross Central development and Publicis’ take-up of space at White City Place, Knight Frank said.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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