The real estate market leaves behind a year affected by the emergence of the global pandemic with an impact on the office sector. However, the forecast for 2021 is that hiring will increase in Spain and that in 2022 a recovery will begin that will lead demand to reach hiring levels in line with the historical average.
The year 2020 closed with a leasing in the office sector of 300,000 sqm in Madrid and 177,000 sqm in Barcelona, which represents a decrease of 50% and 55% respectively compared to 2019, which was a historic year in in terms of demand in both cities and that closed with very robust fundamentals in the office sector. By 2021, the number of hiring is expected to increase, driven by the containment of the pandemic and the recovery of economic activity. It is normal for companies to postpone decisions in times of uncertainty. And more this time, when the pandemic has brought structural change to the sector, new ways of working. As we go back to normality we will see how the sector accelerates again”, says Javier Bernades, member of the Board and Head of the Cushman & Wakefield Offices in Spain.
Despite the decrease in absorption in 2020, in Madrid, the highest volume operations have been maintained. In 2020, 8 operations of more than 8,000 sqm were closed, one more than in 2019. These add up to a total of 91,115 sqm, of which 70% have been contracted in properties classified as Class A (some of new construction and others recently renovated) which indicates that companies continue to prioritize buildings that meet the best quality standards.
Respect to the rate of availability of office space, the global figures stand at 10% in Madrid and 6% in Barcelona. According to Cushman & Wakefield, it is expected that in the next 12 months 157,000 sqm will be added to the stock in Madrid and 210,000 sqm in the Barcelona market of new supply (new supply under construction/refurbishment). In Madrid, 20% of this new area is already committed, while Barcelona has 45% of the pre-letting area.
In this context, income prime at the end of 2020 in Madrid stood at 34,5 €/sqm/month, while the city of Barcelona closed with an income prime of 27,75 €/sqm/month. In both cases there has been a decrease of 3% compared to the end of 2019.
The IT, healthcare and public sectors have been the most active during the last year
The pharmaceutical and health sector with a share of 8.3% of global contracting, the IT sector with 16.4% of the total and the public sector with 11.2%, are the ones that have been most active throughout the year. In 2020, the Ekon Cloud operation in Torre Mapfre in Barcelona with 1,200 sq m stands out, as well as the operation of the CNMV (National Securities Market Commission) that has recently moved from the centre of Barcelona to the 22@ district.