Revenge of the nerds: Tech firms snap up world’s most expensive offices

8 Dec 2017845 Views

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Dublin’s Silicon Docks. Image: Anyaivanova/Shutterstock

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Believe it or not, Dublin is actually deemed affordable as the titans of digital spend money on offices like it is going out of fashion.

When the last tech bubble burst in 2000, many well-heeled people fled all things tech for the apparently safe havens of a property boom that blew up spectacularly in their faces several years later.

Now, ironically, the geeks they shunned hold the cards and are driving up the value of property all over the world.

‘The attractiveness of Dublin, however, does not just come down to cost, and Dublin has a competitive backdrop for corporates looking to move here’
– HANNAH DWYER

Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) latest Premium Office Rent Tracker reveals that the market with the most expensive premium office rent in the world is Central in Hong Kong ($323 per sq ft) followed by New York’s Midtown ($194 per sq ft), London’s West End ($193 per sq ft), Beijing’s Finance Street ($190 per sq ft) and Silicon Valley in California ($158 per sq ft).

The geeks shall inherit the Earth

Technology-rich cities feature strongly among the most expensive office markets globally, including the US tech hubs of New York Midtown (2), Silicon Valley (5), San Francisco (13) and Boston (16); London’s West End (3) and Stockholm (20) in Europe; and Beijing (4), Shenzhen (8) and Tokyo (9) in Asia.

In Europe, Warsaw, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin offer some of the world’s most affordable office spaces. Europe, in fact, has only one market in the top 10 and just three in the top 20: London’s West End (3), London City (14) and Stockholm (20).

Outside the top 20 for EMEA are: Moscow (23), Paris (25), Zurich (27), Geneva (29), Frankfurt (32), Dublin (34), Istanbul (36), Milan (37), Madrid (38), Berlin (42), Paris, La Défense (46), Amsterdam (49), Brussels (50) and Warsaw (51).

Dublin’s property market is in the digital race

Revenge of the nerds: Tech firms are snapping up the world’s most expensive offices

Hannah Dwyer, divisional director and head of research at JLL. Image: JLL

Cities will need to work hard to maintain their attraction for technology firms and start-ups in the face of strong competition from more affordable tech hubs such as Dublin (34), Berlin (42), Seattle (47) and Amsterdam (49).

“Dublin has performed favourably, ranking 34th globally and 10th in Europe,” said Hannah Dwyer, divisional director and head of research at JLL.

“Gross costs of $72 per sq ft are significantly lower than the top five cities, which span from $158 per sq ft (Silicon Valley) to $323 per sq ft (Hong Kong).

“As a result, it has attracted substantial corporate interest in the last few years, with record take-up volumes expected for 2017 that surpass the previous peak.

“The attractiveness of Dublin, however, does not just come down to cost, and Dublin has a competitive backdrop for corporates looking to move here, such as a 12.5pc tax rate, a strong talent base, a native English-speaking population, an existing technological infrastructure and a solid track record of global corporates already in the city.

“Dublin is therefore a dynamic and competitive city, and, with a strong pipeline of new space forecast for the next five years, firms are likely to continue to be attracted here.”

Dublin’s Silicon Docks. Image: Anyaivanova/Shutterstock

Updated, 10.20am, 8 December 2017: This article was updated to clarify the number of European markets in the top 20.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com