Finding the right office space is serious business – and no one knows that better than our team at RE/MAX, a team that’s constantly on the hunt for high-quality commercial real estate that can meet the demands of the discerning companies setting up shop in Malta and the local enterprises striving towards growth and success.
Today’s best offices are no longer simple ‘work spaces’. Today your office can mean the difference between keeping your employees happy or providing a reason for them to move on. In fact, trends show that more and more companies are investing heavily in creating offices that inspire, motivate and support their employees – whether that’s spacious, naturally-lit work spaces, or dynamic leisure spots where they can relax between tasks.
As a result, the commercial property market has had to react by providing spaces that fit the bill on everything from location to facilities. Most of the offices out there have responded to the key trends, which is for simple, open plan spaces with raised flooring.
As for location, although the centre of the island is gaining popularity commercially, the majority of current requests RE/MAX receives are for properties somewhere along the coast between Ta’ Xbiex and St Julian’s, as this is where the majority of gaming and financial services start-ups are based. Large numbers of people working in foreign companies like to rent apartments in these areas, because they provide easy access to restaurants, coffee shops, pharmacies, supermarkets, and can be reached without the need for a car.
Location has become a very important consideration because many employees today also like to live as close to their office as possible, so these areas are very much in-demand residentially, as well as commercially. So much so that a 20,000sqm office space that’s due to be completed there at the end of this year has already been rented out to capacity.
When it comes to the size of properties that are most sought-after, requests vary considerably. Naturally this comes down to the magnitude of the company, from one-man-bands that have set up in Malta for tax reasons, to offices with hundreds of employees. Whatever their size, though, trends show that many of our clients are choosing spaces that exceed their current requirements. This is because they hope to grow, and are planning ahead to avoid space shortages further down the road.
Property Supply is something which needs improvement – not just in the obvious spots like Sliema and St Julian’s but also in Mriehel, for instance, where the office space in the two planned high-rise towers has already been snapped up… Even though they haven’t been built yet! I believe that slow planning procedures are stinting international investment. This has been proved by the success of state-of-the art business centres like SkyParks and Smart City, which are both in the south of the island. If large companies want to relocate here, they need the space to do so; and right now we don’t have it. MEPA really needs to speed things along to rectify the situation.
In terms of leases, the average increase on a lease contract for commercial office space is usually three-to-four per cent per annum, so the tenants always know about this increase as it is stated clearly on the contracts. I believe that the majority of our leasing contracts locally are very transparent and straight forward. Everything is written on the initial agreements, including the yearly increase of the Rental Value within the contract period.
It is worth noting that the majority of landlords do not take advantage of leasing companies since the income is good and it is always increasing. Thus, the reason why companies move to other offices is not because the landlords increase the prices at the end of the lease; it is either because they would like to reduce general costs, or because they are upsizing to meet new goals and space is hard to find in the St Julian’s area.”
This is the time for Government to assess the trends and act on the realisation that foreign investors want the best for their employees, just as local employers do. I hope that the next few years will ensure Malta can meet the demands of its ever-more dynamic business sector and the people that operate within it.
And since we are talking about Commercial Office space, have a look at what we have to offer in this category through our dedicated website for Commercial Properties: http://commercial.remax-malta.com/