THE rapid success of the Oxford-Cambridge knowledge economy has driven up prime office rents in both cities.

Office rents in Oxford have now risen to £40 per sq ft, with Cambridge rents now standing at £45 per sq ft.

The university cities’ values are ahead of any other regional office market in the UK and only slightly below the key London markets of Canary Wharf (£48.50 per sq ft) and Stratford (£48.00 per sq ft).

Last year it was estimated that Oxford University spin-out companies are expected to create about 500 extra jobs each year until 2025 and occupy at least 350,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space by that date.

The Oxford Times:

Dick Wise, head of Business Space Agency at Bidwells, said: “Oxford is a global hotspot for innovation and technology transfer, with a mature eco-system plus billions of pounds of public and private investment being made into fast-growing spin out companies, national research facilities and infrastructure.

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“The recent announcement of a partnership between Legal and General and Oxford University is a recent example.

The Oxford Times:

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy has focused on developing the UK’s knowledge-based economy and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc is right at the centre of it.

“Our research finds the region now contains more than 20 per cent of the UK’s entire Science and Technology park floor space.

"The Cambridge office market is on track for its busiest year since 2014, during one of the most uncertain economic periods in living memory, and now looks set to break the once unthought-of £50 per sq ft mark within five years.”

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Bidwells’ latest research - the first available rental data of 2019 for Cambridge and Oxford - reveals the average prime rent across Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes rose from £33.67 to £37.67 in a year, compared to a 2.2 per cent average rise across 10 other city office locations outside London - including Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Prime office rents in Oxford reached a new high of £40 per sq ft in the first half of 2019 and supply fell to its lowest level in 10 years.

Rents have jumped up from £23 per sq ft at end of 2014, a staggering 73.6 per cent rise from the end of 2014.

The Oxford Times:

David Williams, Partner in Business Space Agency at Bidwells in Oxford, said: “Demand, take-up and rental data is largely dictated by the availability of stock, so in a sense we have a ‘glass ceiling’.

The Oxford Times:

"The true latent demand will be visible when we break through this.

“In the short-term existing stock is being rapidly repurposed, alongside 140,000 sq ft of refurbishment and construction currently under way returning higher rents, whilst in the medium-term the main campuses and city centre regeneration projects will inject millions of sq ft over the next 10 years, a lot of which can be accounted for.”

Earlier this year a group opposed to the Oxford-Cambridge expressway potentially ploughing through Green Belt land has urged the Government to build a new link road between the A34 and A420 for it.

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The Expressway Action Group is opposed to the new road, which could cost billions of pounds, being built on 10 miles of Green Belt land south of Oxford.

But it said it supports a new link road between the A34 and A420 to the west of Oxford, which Highways England outlined as one possibility for the expressway.

It said it could act as a relief road for Oxford, taking through traffic away from Botley and back onto the A34 further north

Over 80 per cent of Bidwells’ work is concentrated in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

To view Bidwells’ most recent business space research for Oxford visit bidwells.co.uk/insights-and-research/our-view-on-oxfordshire-offices-and-labs-summer-2019