Office stock in Utrecht's CBD is set to rise by 25% in the coming years, significantly more than in any of the other big Dutch cities, according to a new report by international real estate advisor Savills.
In the next four years, a further 200,000 m2 of office stock will be added to Utrecht's CBD, located adjacent to its central station, increasing the current stock to a level just shy of 1 million m2 by 2022. In the three other big Dutch cities - Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam - office stock is continuing to decline sharply, the adviser said.
'For years Utrecht has known a shortage of high-quality offices in the train station area,' noted Christian Taphoorn, associate director at Savills Utrecht. 'The CU2030 project has turned this area into a full-fledged CBD, where new developments are necessary to meet future demand. With new high-quality supply coming onto the occupier and investment market, Savills sees this as a progressing market.'
Commenting on the effects of the increased supply, Sander van den Engel, associate director at Savills Utrecht, said he expected stable take-up levels of over 100,000 m2 annually and slightly rising rents in the coming years. Whilst stock has risen in Utrecht in recent years, vacancy rates - particularly in the CBD - have shown an opposite trend for years and are steadily declining. The vacancy level in the CBD currently stands at 3%.
A good alternative
'Especially now that core investment product in other cities is becoming increasingly scarce, Utrecht provides a good alternative market. As a result we expect an increasing interest from (foreign) investors leading to an increasing investment volume,' Van den Engel said.
The growing demand for Utrecht offices has been further stimulated by the increasing quality of new office stock driven by transformations/withdrawals and new developments, the report said.
With a current stock of 2.8 million m2, Utrecht is the fourth largest office market in the Netherlands, located within a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Just last week, PropertyEU and its sister companies PropertyNL and Ventu became the first tenant in the new WTC (pictured) adjacent to Utrecht's central station. The building is owned by CBRE Global Investors.