London's West End district maintained its top spot as the world's most expensive office location last year as occupancy costs declined globally due to the uncertain economic climate, an international survey showed.
West End offices averaged $16,682 per employee workstation a year in 2003, compared with $15,700 for second-ranked Paris, leading real estate consultant DTZ said in its seventh annual Global Office Occupany Costs survey released on Monday.
The basis of the survey has changed to workstations, from floor area previously, to give a clearer picture of accomodation costs, DTZ added.
Despite the impact of the SARS virus last year, the city of Toronto moved up three places to ninth in the "top 10," but the biggest climber of all was Dublin, with the Irish capital jumping nine places to tenth among the world's most expensive office locations.
In comparison, New York (Midtown) offices dropped out of the top three into sixth place. Globally, most office locations continued to register declines in local currency occupancy costs during 2003, reflecting the weak and uncertain global economic environment, DTZ said.
"In local currency terms, virtually every major centre in the world is subject to falling occupancy costs per workstation, reflecting economic pressures and reduced tenant demand," John Forrester, head of DTZ corporate services said in a statement.
"In the UK...central London (City) costs are down by 8.8 percent and London (West End) down 5.1 percent. However in international terms, the situation is distorted by significant currency movements. In Euro terms, London (City) is some 17 percent cheaper than last year, but in dollar terms it is virtually static," Forrester said.