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Solent: Vail Williams tops office deals for second year 

By Dan Teuton
25 November 2020
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Property agency Vail Williams has been ranked number one in the annual M27 corridor offices league table for the second consecutive year, with 160,285 sq ft of office sales and lettings over 12 months. Nik Cox, centre back, heads up Vail Williams' business space team for the Solent, working from Ocean Village in Southampton and Lakeside North Harbour business campus in Portsmouth, pictured.

Estates Gazette, the UK commercial property magazine, compiled the annualRadius Data Exchange M27 Corridor league table from deals recorded from September 2019 to August 2020. A total of 333,206 sq ft was disposed of overall by property agencies. Of that figure, nearly half involved Vail Williams, with 18 deals at an average size of 8,905 sq ft.

Cox said: “Thanks to our team’s deep knowledge of the Solent region and what the market wants, we have been able to repeatedly deliver for landlords and occupiers. Vail Williams’ deals accounted for 42% of the total office space taken. Clearly the pandemic, with two national lockdowns to date, has impacted upon activity. But, as was the case with the global financial crash of 2008-9, shrewd companies look beyond current events. This long-term view has led to enquiries for Grade A office space, which exceed pre-pandemic levels.

“Businesses are searching for upgraded facilities with extra space around each employee, due to social distancing requirements, and quality drop-in hubs for remote workers. However, there is already a limited supply of Grade A workspace in Southampton and Portsmouth, so some employers looking to relocate may find themselves behind the curve.

“It is also worth remembering that offices remain a vital hub for the sharing of ideas, connections, brand, business performance and socialising. There are some employees who are struggling in cramped space at home, desperate to once again commute and return to some semblance of business normality.”

Investment sales are not included in the league table. Due to the slowdown in activity caused by the pandemic, office deals activity was down by 29% compared to the previous 12 months. Vail Williams, which merged with commercial property consultancy Fareham-based Hughes Ellard two years ago, topped the leaderboard with 261,685 sq ft in 2018/19. Prior to that, Hughes Ellard was in the number one spot for four out of five years.

As well as leading the latest league table, Vail Williams was highly commended in Property Week’s silver anniversary Property Awards category for niche or regional agency team of the year. Last year the firm also won a clutch of awards in the South Coast Property Awards. These included offices Consultancy of the Year, Property Client Service and Business Park Innovation of the Year (Lakeside North Harbour).

Professional services by Vail Williams include renewal, asset management, building consultancy, disposals and investment advice throughout the Solent region and the UK.

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