Market snapshot

M1 Corridor Office Market Pulse Q1 2015

Q1 2015 saw strong take-up of 170,000 sq ft. This will provide a strong base for the rest of 2015. Whilst rents are rising in Milton Keynes and Northampton, these markets still offer excellent value compared to other regional markets. Stock availability continues to be an issue however, with grade A space extremely limited.

In this issue:

Milton Keynes asserts its position as a major regional office centre

  • Milton Keynes saw take-up of over 100,000 sq ft in Q1 2015. 50% of these deals were in the centre and further eroded the supply of grade A and high quality grade B space. Out-of-town, a refurbishment at Kents Hill Business Park saw the pre-letting of 8,500 sq ft to Lundbeck.
  • In Luton, take-up reached 39,000 sq ft with a higher number of occupational transactions. With 75,000 sq ft under offer, Luton should expect to see a strong performance in Q2.
  • Take-up in Northampton reached 26,335 sq ft. This was largely driven by Hanson Building Products acquiring 10,500 sq ft on Grange Park Court for their new UK headquarters. The remaining take-up was made up of sub 3,000 sq ft transactions, which continue to underpin the market.

Stock availability continues to be an issue

  • Milton Keynes has over 1m sq ft of space but only 120,000 sq ft of this is grade A or high quality grade B. Of this 120,000 sq ft, less than 50,000 sq ft is available in the central business district. One Grafton Mews at 10,000 sq ft is the only true grade A space available in central Milton Keynes but the market will be boosted by the refurbishment of Ashton/Norfolk House and 252 The Square.
  • Both Northampton and Luton have just under 350,000 sq ft of available office space reflecting sub 10% vacancy rates with both markets having a reliance on grade B to satisfy the increased levels of occupier demand.

Cranes on the skyline

  • Corporate UK and SME occupiers are in a better place than they have been for some time and are reviewing the quality of their space both from an organisational perspective but also in relation to staff wellbeing.
  • Across the M1 Corridor markets we have seen significant requirements being raised but occupiers are finding the available choice a limiting factor. This is driving pre-letting activity which will see cranes on the skyline across Milton Keynes and Northampton by the end of 2015.

Key transactions, Q1 2015


Size (sq ft)

Landlord/ Vendor Tenant/ Purchaser Lease information
MK Central


Threadneedle PFM

MK Council

Five year lease with a three year break option at £10 per sq ft



Blackrock Office Depot 10 year lease with a five year break option at £19 per sq ft
K1 Kents Hill Business Park


Circle PUT Lundbeck 10 year lease at £14.50 per sq ft
5 Grange Park Court


Stobart Hanson Building Products Assign of lease at £17 per sq ft
400 Capability Green


IM Properties Oracle (Micros) £18.50 per sq ft
Hastings Street  11,460 David Fish Limited Aria Properties UK Former BBC 3CR building sold for PDR


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