CBRE: Law Firms Conquer the Prime Business Districts of Madrid & Barcelona

5 March 2019 – Expansión

According to a new report from CBRE about work spaces in the legal sector, law firms are, in many ways, the perfect tenants. They seek iconic buildings, lease more space per employee than companies in other sectors and although they drive a hard bargain in terms of price, they are willing to pay a premium for the right property. What’s more, their businesses are stable, they seek long-term contracts and they pay their rent on time.

In this context, there has been a great deal of activity in the segment in recent years. In 2017, records were set in terms of transaction volumes and numbers, with Baker McKenzie and Allen & Overy leading the charge to move offices in Madrid. Last year was quieter, but several international firms leased new space, including Andersen, Latham & Watkins and Pinsent Masons). Moreover, international firms lease twice as much space as their Spanish counterparts, on average, although local firms account for most transactions in Madrid (6 out of every 10).

On average, over the last decade, law firms have leased 11,000 m2 of office space per year on average in Madrid, more than twice as much as in Barcelona (where 4,500 m2 per year is leased, on average), the second most active market.

In the Spanish capital, the neighbourhood of Salamanca is the most sought-after area, accounting for 43% of interest in the market, followed by the Cuatro Torres area, with 17%. In Barcelona, 9 out of 10 operations involve domestic firms and the most sought-after areas are Paseo de Gracia and Avenida Diagonal.

Average rental prices in Madrid have soared by 60% in the last six years from a low of €17/m2/month in 2012 to €27/m2/month last year, with highs of €35/m2/month in the most prime areas. In Barcelona, average prices have risen by 50% since their lows of 2013, with prime rates reaching €24/m2/month in 2018.

Original story: Expansión (by Sergio Saiz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake