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Market report North Rhine-Westphalia for the first half year 2023

- About the logistics market in the economic region

Slowdown in NRW: Take-up on industrial and logistics property market down by 42%

With take-up of 301,730 m², the North Rhine-Westphalia rental and owner-occupied market for logistics and industrial properties has experienced its second decline in a row. After the only average H1 2022, take-up by all market participants declined by more than 40% in the first six months (down 42%, coming from 519,500 m² in H1 2022).

Following the record H1 2021 with 648,000 m², this marks two consecutive significant declines in take-up. The current slump in take-up of more than half is the most significant decline in NRW since our records began. As a result, take-up for the first half of the year of approximately 302,000 m² is the lowest result we have seen for a first half-year and a significant 190,000 m² or 38.6% below the five-year average of 491,506 m². 

Facts

  • Balanced share of new builds and existing buildings 
  • Slight increase in business park rentals 
  • Region ranking: Ruhr area responsible for biggest decline 
  • Sector ranking: Strong rise in take-up in manufacturing
  • Large spaces hold on to lead
  • Rise in prime rent on all three NRW markets
  • Muted market activity expected due to space shortage and rent increases 

Balanced share of new builds and existing buildings

While new builds barely contributed to take-up on other top German logistics property markets, take-up of new builds and existing spaces is relatively balanced in NRW. Here, too, existing space took the lead, accounting for more than half of take-up with 175,600 m² and 58.2%. New space accounted for 126,130 m² or 41.8%. This breakdown was almost identical in the same period of the previous year (H1 2022: existing space: 310,600 m² or 59.8%; new builds: 208,900 m² or 40.2%).

All three regional markets (Cologne, Düsseldorf, Ruhr area) were purely tenants’ markets in H1 2023.

Slight increase in business park rentals

At 208,066 m² or 69%, big box logistics properties took the lead in total rentals (H1 2022: 348,200 m² or 67%). This is followed by other spaces at 49,633 m² or 16.4% (H1 2022: 132,600 m² or 25.5%) and business parks at 44,031 m² or 14.6% (H1 2022: 38,700 m² or 7.4%). In terms of pro rata take-up, big boxes were stable, but at 140,134 m² (down 40%) experienced the biggest decline ahead of other properties (down 82,967 m² or 63%). By contrast, business park take-up rose slightly by 14% or 5,331 m².

Region ranking: Düsseldorf claims almost half of take-up

Attempting to localise the causes of the weak H1 result, the Ruhr area in particular stands out, falling by 65.1% or 171,870 m² to 92,330 m² (H1 2022: 264,200 m²). This was the most significant decline of all three sub-markets.

Cologne contributed 24% of take-up in H1 2023, down by 44% or 56,800 m² at 72,400 m² (H1 2022: 129,200 m²). Düsseldorf was the only sub-market to report an increase in take-up, of 10,900 m² or 8.6% to 137,000 m². Pro rata as well, the market achieved the most significant increase of 21.1 percentage points to 45.4% and currently accounts for almost every second square metre of take-up in NRW.

The lack of take-up in the Ruhr area from January to June 2023 was likewise evident in the five-year average for first half-years. Here the Ruhr area was around 65% below the long-term first half-year average at 260,361 m², Cologne was down by 33% at 107,271 m² and Düsseldorf was up 10.6% at 123,874 m².

Sector ranking: Strong rise in take-up in manufacturing

Once again, though less decisively, the leading sector in NRW was logistics or distribution at 148,185 m² or 49.1%, coming from 318,600 m² or 61.3% in H1 2022. In absolute terms, the sector plummeted by 53.5% from 318,000 m² in the previous year to 170,415 m².

In second place was again retail at 70,260 m² or 23.3%, coming from 167,800 m² or 32.3%. After logistics or distribution, it lost the second-highest amount of take-up (97,540 m²) and was 58.1% below the first half of the previous year at 167,800 m². Within retail, e-commerce took the lead at 61,210 m² or 87.1%, followed by bricks-and-mortar retail at 9,050 m² or 12.9%. The distribution of space has shifted in favour of e-commerce compared to the first half of the previous year: Three quarters (127,600 m²; 76%) of take-up in retail were claimed by e-commerce companies in H1 2022, with brick-and-mortar retail companies responsible for just a quarter (40,200 m² or 24%).

Manufacturing is currently still in third place with 53,070 m² or 17.6%, coming from 31,200 m² or 6%. This sector therefore increased its take-up from the first half of the previous year by 70.1% or 21,870 m² with significant pro rata growth of 11.6 percentage points as well.

Last place this time again goes to the “Other” category with 30,215 m² or 10% (H1 2022: 1,900 m² or 0.4%), which thus saw the most significant growth both relatively and in absolute terms.

The majority of the weak result for the year is therefore explained by the slump in demand for space from logistics or distribution and retail companies. The increases by manufacturing and other sectors failed to compensate for this slump, resulting in a deficit of approximately 218,000 m² from H1 2022 to H1 2023.


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Large spaces hold on to lead

Broken down by size class and despite the slump in big box spaces mentioned above, the category of large spaces of 10,001 m² or more was in first place at 170,547 m² or 56.5% and was responsible for more than one in two square metres of take-up in NRW in H1 2023. Larger to large spaces from 5,001 up to and including 10,000 m² accounted for the second-highest amount of space at 18.7% or 56,332 m², followed by units of between 3,001 and 5,000 m² at 41,115 m² or 13.6%. The next category down of 1,000 to 3,000 m² claimed 10.1% or 30,406 m². In last place are small areas of less than 1,000 m², which reported a relatively minor share of 1.1% or 3,330 m².

Rise in prime rent on all three NRW markets

Prime rent for industrial and logistics properties as well as business parks has risen to its highest level to date on all three NRW markets. As at the end of H1 2023, at EUR 7.50/m²*, Düsseldorf has the highest prime rent in NRW. This is a moderate increase of 3.4% coming from EUR 7.25/m². Cologne follows at EUR 7.35/m²*, an increase of 7.3%. The Ruhr area may be in third place on the NRW market in terms of prime rent, but also experienced the highest growth of 15% to EUR 6.50/m²* (H1 2022: EUR 5.65 or m²).

*In a previous press release on the top eight locations, we had reported prime rents of EUR 8.50 or m² (Düsseldorf and Cologne) and EUR 7.50 or m² (Ruhr area). Missing data had led to errors in our database. The figures presented in this document are the correct values.

Düsseldorf logistics and industrial properties market up by more than 8%

The rental and owner-occupied market for logistics and industrial properties in Düsseldorf has broken the negative trend of the first half of the previous year. In H1 2023, it grew by 8.6% to 137,000 m², coming from 126,100 m² in the same period of the previous year. The take-up contributed by all market participants adds up to the second-strongest first half of a year since H1 2018. This also surpassed the five-year average by 10.6% (123,874 m²).
 
 Unlike in the first half of the previous year, rentals in new builds were almost on a par with rentals in existing buildings with a share of 51.8% or 70,900 m². These amounted to 48.2% or 66,100 m²in the past six months. In the first half of the previous year, market transactions had been clearly dominated by existing spaces, accounting for three quarters of take-up (96,000 m²) with new builds at 30,100 m². New builds have therefore made significant pro rata gains (of 27.9 percentage points) in this reporting period.

Facts

  • Take-up in new builds and existing properties virtually balanced
  • Three quarters of all rentals in big boxes
  • Long-term leases preferred
  • Sector ranking: Logistics or distribution take-up more than doubles
  • Take-up by size category
  • Prime rent rises to new high

As in the first half of the previous year, Düsseldorf was exclusively a tenants’ market, with no owner-occupancy deals taking place.

In terms of the type of building, rentals in big box logistics properties were again in first place at 106,150 m² or 77.5%, increasing their share of take-up from 73,100 m² or 58%. They were the only type of building to increase their absolute take-up as well (by 45.2% or 33,050 m²). In second place again are other properties (neither big box nor business parks) at 23,580 m² or 17.2%, coming from 34,600 m² or 27.4% (down 31.8%). Still in last place are business parks at 7,270 m² or 5.3%, coming from 18,400 m² or 14.6% (decline of 60.5%).

Biggest deals in H1 2023

GXO LOGISTICS EUROPE SASapprox. 32,300 m² (New build), Logistics

Advanced Supply Chainapprox. 19,000 m² (New build), Logistics

ENGEMANN u. CO. Internationale Spedition GmbHapprox. 17,000 m² (Existing property), Logistics

DB Schenkerapprox. 14,000 m² (Existing property), Logistics

Uspeede GmbHapprox. 11,500 m² (Existing property), Logistics

Long-term leases preferred

Long-term leases of over ten years accounted for a share of approximately 30%. A majority of leases, at around 60%, currently have a term of five to ten years, with short-term leases clearly in the minority at 10%.

Sector ranking: Logistics or distribution claims all five top deals

The leading sector on the Düsseldorf logistics market in H1 2023 was logistics or distribution at 108,030 m² or 78.9% (H1: 46,300 m² or 36.7%), more than doubling its prior-year figure with an absolute increase of 113%. This sector accounted for all five top deals and contributed the majority of take-up at 93,800 m² or 86.8%.

Retail is currently in second place at 18,280 m² or 13.3 m². Coming from 71,300 m² or 56.5% in H1 2022, this marks a crash of around 53,000 m² or 74%. Within retail, e-commerce was in the lead with take-up of 13,230 m², or around 72% of total take-up. Traditional, brick-and-mortar retail accounted for 5,050 m² or 28%. In third place is manufacturing at 10,690 m² or 7.8% (H1 2022: 8,500 m² or 6.7%).

Take-up by size category

The breakdown of take-up by size category is a new feature in the half-year analysis for the Düsseldorf market. Large spaces of 10,001 m² or more contributed 105,060 m² or 76.7% in the period from January to July 2023, more than three quarters of take-up by square metre on the Düsseldorf rental market for logistics and industrial properties. Units of between 5,001 and 10,000 m² took second place at 9.6% or 13,105 m², the category between 3,001 and 5,000 m² claimed 4,465 m² or 3.3% (fourth place) and the category between 1,000 and 3,000 m² accounted for 12,275 m² or 9.0% (third place). Small areas of less than 1,000 m² played a minor role with take-up of 1,611 m² or 1.9%.

Prime rent rises to new high

Prime rent reached its highest level to date of EUR 7.50/m² with a moderate increase of 3.4% in H1 2023. The five-year average of EUR 6.48/m² was thus exceeded by a significant 15.7%. 

Submarket Cologne: Cologne logistics and industrial properties market down by 44%

The rental and owner-occupied market for logistics and industrial properties in Cologne continued the negative trend of the first half of the previous year. Take-up by all market participants fell by 44% to 72,400 m² in the past half-year after 129,200 m² in H1 2022.

By our analysis, this is the second-lowest take-up for a first half-year in the past five years. Only H1 2020 was around 13% lower at 63,150 m². It fell short of the five-year average of 107,271 m² by a substantial 33%.

Facts

  • Terms of between five and ten years on more than two thirds of leases
  • Sector ranking: Not one deal in traditional retail
  • High demand for mid-sized spaces
  • Prime rent climbs by 7.3%

Biggest deals in H1 2023 - Cologne

eROCKET GmbHapprox. 19,487 m² (Existing property), e-commerce

Arcese S.p.A., approx. 8,552 m² (New building), Logistics

CTDI Europe approx. 7,724 m² (Existing property), Logistics

Contrary to the same period of the previous year, rentals in existing properties contributed the biggest share of take-up at 90.8% or 65,770 m². Only around 9% or 6,630 m² of lease were for new spaces after 77,900 m² or 60.3% in the same period of the previous year. Thus, the sharp decline in take-up on the Cologne market can be attributed in particular to the lack of new build rentals (decline of around 71,300 m²). Although existing spaces increased by around 14,500 m² or 28.2%, this failed to compensate for the slump in new build rentals.

Cologne was exclusively a tenants’ market in the past half-year, after owner-occupancy deals accounted for 30.1% or 38,900 m² of take-up in the same period of the previous year.

In terms of the type of building, big box leases were still out ahead with half of take-up by square metre at 37,201 m² (51.4%). While it has retained its lead on pro rata take-up, this has narrowed significantly year-on-year by 29 percentage points (H1 2022: 103,600 m² or 80.2%). Business parks took second place at 24,280 m² or 33.5% in the first six months of 2023 (H1 2022: 11,100 m² or 8.6%). Business parks were the only type of building to more than double their take-up with an absolute increase of 13,180 m² or 120%. At 10,919 m², other properties claimed a share of 15.1% (H1 2022: 14,500 m² or 11.2%).

Terms of between five and ten years on more than two thirds of leases

Most leases, at around 70%, were for terms of between five and ten years, with 15% each shorter (one to four years) or longer than 10 years.

Sector ranking: Not one deal in traditional retail

According to our analysis, the “Others” category, at 24,215 m² or 33.4% (H1 2022: 1,900 m² or 1.5%), and retail, at 23,540 m² or 32.5% (H1 2022: 34,000 m² or 26.3%), are virtually even in places one and two.

The deal with the telecommunications service provider CTDI Europe for 7,724 m² contributed around 32% of take-up in the “Others” category in H1 2023. Meanwhile, the pure-play e-commerce company eRocket GmbH, at 19,487 m² or 83%, contributed most of take-up in the retail sector, which was exclusively defined by online shopping in the first half of the year. This confirms the trend of the same period of the previous year, when e-commerce accounted for 95% or 32,300 m² and traditional retail just 5% or 1,700 m².

With a share of 20.5% at 14,865 m², the logistics or distribution sector was the biggest loser and landed in third place (H1 2022: 82,300 m² or 63.7%). At 10,000 m², the lease with Arcese S.p.A. was responsible for around two thirds (67.3%) of take-up in the logistics or distribution sector.

Manufacturing is currently in last place at 9,780 m² or 13.5%, coming from 11,000 m² or 8.5%.

High demand for mid-sized spaces

Large spaces of 10,001 m² or more were responsible for 19,487 m² or 26.9% of take-up in the past half-year, thus ranking second among all size classes. Just one rental by eROCKIT Systems GmbH or: eRocket GmbH generated all the take-up in this size category.

Spaces of between 5,001 and 10,000 m² were in third place at 17,714 m² or 24.5%, while units between 3,001 and 5,000 m² took first place with a share of 32.8% at 23,749 m². Smaller to mid-sized spaces between 1,000 and 3,000 m² claimed the second-lowest share of space at 10,950 m² or 15.1% in the past half-year, while small spaces of less than 1,000 m² played a minor role with take-up of 500 m² or 0.7%.

Prime rent climbs by 7.3%

Prime rent in Cologne rose by 7.3% from EUR 6.85/m² in H1 2022 to a new high of EUR 7.35/m². The five-year average of EUR 6.21/m² was exceeded by a significant 18.4%.

Traditionally, Cologne tends to be a location for small and mid-sized users or delivery service companies and urban users that seek multi-user properties such as business parks in particular. According to our analysis, most rentals are in properties of up to 5,000 m². However, such properties are not available here either. Vacancies are rare as the asset managers go directly to existing customers in business parks.

Submarket Ruhr region: Ruhr region logistics and industrial properties market at historic low

The rental and owner-occupied market for logistics and industrial properties in the Ruhr region posted a negative record in the past half-year. According to our analysis, take-up by all market participants amounted to 92,330 m² down by 65.1% year-on-year in H1 2023. This was worse by a significant 38% even than H1 2014, the previous lowest take-up since our records began at 150,000 m².

We have been aware of a downward trend in take-up in first half-years in the Ruhr region since H1 2020. However, take-up over the past six months has been a significant 64.5% less than the average for past five first half-years of 260,361 m². The past half-year therefore only achieved around a third of the long-term average.

In terms of take-up, rentals in new builds were in the lead with a share of 52.6% or 48,600 m², ahead of rentals in existing properties at 47.4% or 43,730 m² (H1 2022: new builds 100,900 m² or 38.2% in total; existing buildings 61.8% or 163,300 m²). As in the first half of the previous year, we did not record any owner-occupancy deals, making the Ruhr area as well purely a tenants’ market in H1 2023.

Facts

  • New builds just ahead of existing buildings
  • Business parks the only type of property to become more significant
  • 20% of leases over 10 years
  • Sector ranking: Manufacturing takes up a third of all space
  • Large spaces responsible for half of take-up 
  • Prime rent hits new high to date of EUR 6.50/m²

Biggest deals in H1 2023 - Ruhr region

SPAX International GmbH & Co KG, approx. 30,000 m² (New build), Manufacturing

SwissCommerce Management GmbH, approx. 16,000 m² (New build), e-commerce

REWE - Zentral-AG, approx. 10,000 m² (Existing property), Retail

Versandmanufaktur GmbH, approx. 8,713 m² (Existing property), Logistics

LOXX Logistics GmbH, approx. 4,900 m² (Existing property), Logistics

Business parks the only type of property to become more significant

In terms of type of building, big box logistics properties were still in the lead with 64,715 m² or 70.1% from January to June 2023. While their pro rata take-up increased by 5.2 percentage points from 171,500 m² or 64.9% in H1 2022, they also experienced the most significant decline in take-up out of all building types in H1 2023, down 106,785 m² or 62% as against the first half of the previous year.

In second place are other properties at 15,134 m² or 16.4% (H1 2022: 83,500 m² or 31.6%), which lost 68,366 m² or 82% year-on-year. 

Business parks are currently in third place, accounting for take-up of 15,134 m² or 16.4% (H1 2022: 83,500 m² or 31.6%). Out of all building types, they were the only one to achieve both absolute and pro rata gains in the Ruhr region (3,281 m² or 36%). 

20% of leases over 10 years

We have noted that most leases are between five and ten years. Around 60% of new leases in the Ruhr region are in this category, declining slightly from 65% in the same period of the previous year.

Long leases over ten years rose by around ten percentage points from around 10% in H1 2022 to currently 20%. Shorter terms between one and four years amounted to 20%.

Sector ranking: Manufacturing takes up a third of all space

The leading industry in the Ruhr region by take-up is manufacturing at 32,600 m² or 35.3% (H1 2022: 11,700 m² or 4.4%). This is the most significant pro rata increase of 30.9 percentage points or almost triple (up 20,900 m² – most significant absolute increase for all sectors). This was largely thanks to the deal for 30,000 m² with SPAX International GmbH & Co KG, accounting for more than 90% of the sector’s take-up.

In second place again was retail at 28,440 m² or 30.8% (H1 2022: 62,500 m² or 23.7%), where take-up more than halved. Two of the top deals – the e-commerce company SwissCommerce Management GmbH at 16,000 m² and traditional retail REWE - Zentral-AG at 10,000 m² – contributed 26,000 m² or 91%. Within the sector, e-commerce took on a more significant role with a share of 85.9% or 24,440 m² as compared to brick-and-mortar retail at 14.1% or 4,000 m².

Large spaces responsible for half of take-up

Large spaces of 10,001 m² or more were responsible for 46,000 m² or 49.8% of take-up in the past half-year, thus ranking first among all size classes. The market was dominated by the two major deals with SPAX International GmbH & Co KG and SwissCommerce Management GmbH, which accounted for the entire take-up in this size category.

In second place were spaces between 5,001 and 10,000 m² with take-up of 25,513 m² or 27.6%, to which the top deals with Rewe-Zentral AG and Versandmanufaktur GmbH contributed around 73% of take-up at 18,713 m² in total.

This was followed by units between 3,001 and 5,000 m² at 12,901 m² and a share of 14% in third place; the deal with LOXX Logistics GmbH for 4,900 m² was responsible for 38% of take-up in this sub-category. Smaller to mid-sized spaces between 1,000 and 3,000 m² claimed the second-lowest share of space at 7,181 m² or 7.8% in the past half-year, while small spaces of less than 1,000 m² played a minor role with take-up of 735 m² or 0.8%.

Significant rise in prime rent of 15%

Prime rent on the rental and owner-occupied market for logistics and industrial properties in the Ruhr area climbed to a new high of EUR 6.50/m² in the past half-year, an increase of 15% on EUR 5.65/m². This is the most significant surge in rent since our records began, and continues the unbroken trend of rising prices since H1 2018. The average prime rent over the last five first half-years of currently EUR 5.71/m² was exceeded by 31%.


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