London office occupancy rates are less than half pre-Covid levels in the UK, at about 35 per cent, according to Remit Consulting. This compares with pre-pandemic levels of 60 per cent to 80 per cent.
Property managers are talking about turning over space set aside for offices to residential. That’s also true of some developments in Midtown and the West End. It’s also the case in the UK’s regional centres.

Surveys say London’s vacancy rate is about 9 per cent, but empirical evidence suggests that is an unrealistic, low figure. Even then, it’s the highest this century.
High interest rates, low investment, weak employment figures, the cost of meeting green environmental regulations, Big Tech layoffs and, of course, remote working and WFH – which appear to be permanent or at the very least are proving hard to dislodge – all lean in one direction.

The Bank of England maintains a commercial property downturn does not represent a threat to UK economic stability in the way that it did during the US housing crisis because borrowers are less indebted and UK banks are far less exposed. (UK pension funds, however, are heavy investors in domestic commercial property.) The Bank’s argument may soon be put to the test.

Unless people return to a five-day working week, unless offices fill up again – and there is precious little sign of any serious change, despite the best efforts of some employers to persuade staff back to their desks – shakedown, possibly meltdown, awaits.