The city of London is an international hub for business and commerce along with being the world's leading financial centre, alongside New York City. Real estate in the city of London has always been at a premium, with numerous global companies choosing the capital as their base of operations.
The commercial real estate market in London was recently valued at $268 billion, of which nearly sixty percent can be attributed to the Central London area. This means that the city of London contributes a fifth of the United Kingdom's commercial market value, which currently stands at $770 billion. Much of the commercial property market is comprised of office space, along with retail properties.
London's West End
The West End of London is home to some of the most expensive commercial, office and retail properties, along with some of the most exclusive residential properties in the country. During the last year a number of large commercial real estate deals were conducted in the West End, eight of which surpassed $158 million. This includes a Regents Street commercial property deal which reached $714 million. Research has shown that purchasers of commercial properties in the area are comprised of buyers from the mainland Europe and UK, Asia and Middle Eastern regions.
The most expensive streets in the country are located in the West End's Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which is the location of seven of the ten most expensive streets in the UK. These include Campden Hill Square, Drayton Gardens, Duchess of Bedford Walk, Cadogan Square , Dawson Place and Parkside, which is situated in Merton. The West End of London is renowned the world over for its retail shopping facilities, focusing on the Oxford Street area, which is a major draw for international tourism. The West End is also a popular choice for fine dining establishments and is home to some of the most exclusive restaurants and private clubs.
The City of London is focused on the financial industries, with a large number of international banking institutions and investment companies clustered in the area. Investment in The City's commercial property market reached $4.7 billion in 2011, which was the strongest year since the financial downturn. Large scale commercial property deals were reduced, with more than eighty percent of deals under ten thousand square feet. Office space rental accounts for a large portion of the commercial real estate industry in The City, with an increase of second-hand lettings indicating that occupiers are becoming more cost-conscious.
Commercial Property in East London
Commercial property developments in the East London area have increased since the announcement of the London Olympic Games 2012, which will be located in Stratford. This has brought an increase in the cost of real estate for both retail properties and office space in East London.
Old Street's Silicon Roundabout, which is situated in the Shoreditch area, is the hub of the technology industry in London and the home of a number of global technology companies. During 2010 and 2012 more than a million square feet of office space was acquired by tech firms in London. The East End of London is also home to Liverpool Street, which is the UK headquarters of a large number of financial giants including the Halifax, HSBC and UBS.
The tallest commercial building in London is The Shard, situated at London Bridge, The Shard is also the tallest building in Europe. One Canada Square in Canary Wharf is the second tallest building in London followed by Heron Tower, situated in Bishopsgate, which is the third tallest building in London and the first tallest in The City.