In the 1st quarter of the year, co-working operators have contracted in Barcelona city a volume of up to 27.600 sqm, more than half the surface contracted in all of 2018.
At the closing of Q1 2019, Regus has the largest area of flexible spaces in the city of Barcelona (21.017 sqm), but it would be surpassed by WeWork if we take into account the sqms that the American co-working operator currently has to open.
If throughout 2018 Barcelona established itself as one of the European cities with the greatest growth in flexible spaces, in the first months of 2019 the Catalan capital has increased even more the pace of openings and hiring of co-working centers. Of the 132.000 sqm of contracted surface in the Barcelona office market in the 1st quarter of the year, 27.600 sqm correspond to the flexible spaces sector, a figure that represents one fifth of the take-up in the Q1 2019, far exceeding the quota of 2018, year in which co-working spaces accounted for 12.6% of the annual take-up, 46.700 sqm of the total 370.000 sqm.
The new labour framework –with more flexible hours and remote work- and the growing expansion of startups and technological disruption in the workplace are some of the factors that contribute to the rise of the co-working option. Being aware of this upward trend, the main operators continue to expand their market share and compete for the best locations in the 3 main hot spots of the market in Barcelona: the centre of the city, the corporate district 22@ and the av.Diagonal up to passeig de Gràcia hub. Location is one of the main key aspects when choosing where to establish a co-working center, and once the main areas are covered, operators are beginning to consider and cover new locations such as Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. The positive occupancy data -mostly around 90% in just four months after opening- forecast that in 2019 the process of expansion and spread out of the sector will be maintained and increased.
At the closing of the first quarter of 2019, Regus has the largest area of flexible spaces in the city of Barcelona (21.017 sqm), but it would be surpassed by Wework if we take into account the sqm that the American company has to open. If we add up the area that Wework has projected to open in its 4 new centers in the Catalan capital, the operator of flexible spaces would sum up a volume of 35.540 sqm. Aticco, the co-working operator from Barcelona, has been the one that has hired the most sqm in the first quarter of the year: 8.380 sqm, a figure that accounts for a third of the hiring of the co-working sector in the first 3 months of the year.
According to Manel de Bes, director of the Office Department of Forcadell, "the trend of flexible spaces has burst onto the office market as cross-over event: initially attracting SMEs and startups, and finally captivating large multinationals -which have established in co-working centers part of its staff- and large owners and investment funds, which are reserving part of their new promotions to flexible spaces”
Regarding prices, the 22@ district exceeds the center of Barcelona. If the average rate of a flexible table is € 203 / month in the city center, in the 22@ district it reaches € 223.5 / sqm. The difference with the periphery of Barcelona, where there are still few co-working centers, is even greater: a flexible table has a rate of € 138 / month on average.
Forcadell specialized in 2018 in the co-working sector and launched the online platform Forcadell Coworking, with the work spaces of the most important operators in Barcelona. Aware of the growing demand of companies of all sizes to find flexible workspaces and the need for large co-working operators to fill the large areas hired, Forcadell decided to opt for this market niche and create a subdivision in its Office Department.
Through this platform, Forcadell brings together the range of co-working spaces in the city of Barcelona so that those interested in installing themselves in a flexible space can view them on the same platform, compare them and choose the most optimal one according to the location, the services, the rates and advice from Forcadell. In the 1st quarter of the year, the real estate consultant has hired up to 600 work spaces for coworkers.