Antwerp is the second largest office market in Belgium, with over 2 million square metres of office stock. The seven subdistricts that make up the Antwerp office market extend beyond the borders of the city of Antwerp. The greatest part of the district’s office stock is concentrated in the Centre and around the Singel.
Let’s take a closer look at the three main subdistricts. The Centre is delimited by the Eilandje to the north, the railway and Uitbreidingsstraat to the east, the river Schelde to the west and the Markgravelei/Statiestraat to the south. The Singel runs along the ringway to the south, in the Berchem area. The Periphery itself is divided into the Haven, Linkeroever, Periphery North, Periphery East and Periphery South areas.
Over the last 15 years, the Antwerp office market recorded a 2% annual growth rate. Indeed Antwerp is a dynamic market that is always looking to improve. With investors and occupiers demanding high-quality modern spaces – which didn’t used to be consistently readily available –, a surge of speculative projects will push the market forward in the years to come. And that’s crucial, given the fact that today almost 75% of the Antwerp office stock is made up of Grade C buildings.
The future market will be shaped by several large-scale urban development projects across Antwerp. With Blue Gate Antwerp, Campus West, Pelikaanstraat, the former Connectimmo site on the Singel and the Oosterweel connection underway, the market for Grade A and B surfaces is sure to get a boost.
Looking at the 2014-2018 period, occupiers come mostly from industries such as the public sector (45%), finance and insurance (11%), followed by the industrial sectors and logistics companies, as well as sectors such as IT and the wider real estate industry.
Public sector occupants mostly consist of city and province administrations, with Pleegzorg Provincie Antwerpen’s purchase of the 4,000 square metre Berchemse Poort and the new 50,000 square metre central offices of the Antwerp Police department at Post X as the most notable examples.
Antwerp’s exceptional economic profile remains the main reason for occupiers wanting to base their business in the city. It can attract occupiers with assets that neither Brussels nor Ghent have. Occupiers notice the possibility for organic growth in the region, illustrated by the numerous extension deals that have taken place. Companies tend to open secondary offices in Antwerp as well, to foster closer proximity to clients and for their own workforce, countering mobility issues they might face commuting to Brussels, as mentioned in our previous blog post.
Antwerp prime rent has remained stable since 2017 at €155 per square metre per year for modern spaces, in both the Centre and the Singel districts. The outlook for the years to come is an increase in prime rent to as much as €160 per square metre per year, since demand for available Grade A spaces is on the rise. Average rents are fairly stable, at €115 per square metre per year.
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Read also why Antwerp is a trump card in its own right.