The phenomenal growth of the ‘flex’ sector is set to continue apace in years to come, with flexible workspace in EMEA grow by over 50% by 2022 and the number of office workers occupying this space growing to 750,000 across the region. That’s according to global real estate advisor, Colliers International, which recently released its Flexible Workspace Outlook Report 2019.
The number of flexible workspace operators across Europe has grown by 135 per cent over the last four years, with the number of flexible workplace centres increasing by 205 per cent over the same period. As the desire from occupiers for flexible office space shows no signs of diminishing, Colliers’ research indicates that take up could double again over the next three years across major European cities. Of 22 major European cities analysed by Colliers International, eight will see flexible workspace double over the next three years; with Berlin, Bucharest, Munich and Prague amongst those expected to see the most growth.
There are two major players that dominate flexible workspace activity in Europe: International Workplace Group (IWG), which incorporates Regus and Spaces; and WeWork.
London and Paris are the most mature markets, and both have seen more established operators develop their presence, in addition to IWG and WeWork. Despite this evolution, both cities are dominated by a small number of operators, with other domestic, local players playing a significant role accounting for over 60% of activity.
Warsaw offers almost 195,000 sqm of co-working and serviced- office space. WeWork is the market leader in Warsaw, it operates five locations of almost 40,000 sqm and has announced opening five more in the next 18 months. Regus has been present on the Polish market for over a decade and now totals 24,000 sqm in 17 locations in Warsaw.
Traditional serviced offices have a market share of nearly 80% of the flexible workspace market, which accounts for approximately 75,000 sqm in Budapest. Regus is the market leader on the flexible office market, followed by the operator NewWork which is growing fast.
In Bucharest, the market is dominated by IWG, which is present here through two brands: Regus and Spaces, with the latter leaning towards the co-working experience. It operated over 10 locations at the end of last year, which accounted for about half of the total space attributable to flexible workspace operators.
Since 2016 the take-up for coworking companies in Prague has grown five-fold, per year, to almost 25,000 sqm by 2018 year-end. The majority of space leased in 2018 will be opened in 2019- 2020 and includes larger international coworking names such as WeWork or Spaces as well as local players such as HubHub. In 2019 we expect further growth of the sector, although the pace of growth will not match the pace from previous years.
Damian Harrington, Head of EMEA Research & Forecasting, Colliers International, comments: “It is clear to see how rapidly the flexible workplace niche has expanded since 2001 in terms of the number of sites, the volume of space (sqm) and the number of operators in situ across Europe. However, even at the top end of the spectrum, total take-up is marginal in comparison to the wider office market, suggesting the sector has not expanded to excess and there is still room for growth.
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