Companies planning to open offices in the West End of London can expect to pay the highest rents in the world, latest research shows. A six-monthly survey of the cost of office space around the world shows that the central London area is the most expensive place to run an office, and is far more costly than other exclusive districts in almost 180 cities. The study, by the commercial property adviser CB Richard Ellis, shows that office space in the West End is being let at an average of $185 (£110) per square foot – $13 a square foot more than the Inner Central area of the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Even though London has returned to the top of the pile, indicating that an economic recovery is gaining traction, rents are still a long way short of the levels seen at the market's height last year.
"At the peak of the market in 2008, West End rents were around £120 per square foot and they are now down to around £80. However, deals are being done at higher levels for premium addresses," said Stewart Smith, of CB Richard Ellis. "At the end of the summer we saw a sharp rise in activity in the West End, with take-up reaching 846,000 square feet in last quarter."