Interview with Sophie DESMAZIÈRES, Founding President of Local Offices
The corporate real estate market, especially offices, is a particularly important market. Indeed, it is often the first item of expenditure of companies, before wages.
Bureaux Locaux is a French platform that allows companies to have access to offices, premises and warehouses throughout France. Local Officesprovides its clients with the keys to deciding which cities are best for investment. Price comparison, the latest barometers, Local Offices gives visibility on the real estate situation zone by area.
Overcoming the COVID-19 period, a challenge?
At the beginning of 2020, Bureaux Locaux doubled its workforce in Paris from ten to twenty employees, mainly developers, or marketing salespeople. Prior to containment, Local Offices operated in a simple and efficient manner, with growth of 30-40% each year.
Flexibility was already part of the company’s values. Also, the transition to telework has been facilitated. However, the sales team was more impacted by the inability to meet its customers. To remedy this situation, Local Offices has set up telephone or Webinars exchanges with its clients and real estate agents to maintain this link throughout the containment.
Their mode of communication could be completely digitalized. An adaptation that allowed to keep the entire team, while continuing to propose new tools. Thus, the company works with digital tools and artificial intelligence, in order to meet the needs of companies’ premises.
Highlighting the services presented in the ad district, the facilities offered in the commercial premises… These are all criteria that count in choosing a neighbourhood. In addition, it allows a remote company to have all the keys to decide to set up shop. Hence the importance of carefully selecting the information highlighted on the ad.
A relationship of closeness and trust during confinement
Local Offices works with two categories of clients: real estate agents and companies looking for a property to establish themselves in. During confinement, site visits were impossible, which encouraged new technologies to develop. Thus, virtual tours made it possible to visit even remotely. On the platform, 130,000 goods are on a virtual tour today. But not all real estate agents have yet taken the digital fold.
Local Offices has therefore done its uedsing to help them adapt to the changes brought about by containment. This requires, for example, a greater team mobilization, listening to their users.
In Gironde, the platform has nearly 2500 online ads. However, since the beginning of the containment, companies have temporarily ceased operations. As a result, the platform recorded a 35% drop in traffic. However, these results have evolved rapidly, particularly with sales of warehouses or premises. Businesses are changing offices to have more space or to adapt to the implementation of containment.
More and more of them are choosing to concentrate in medium-sized cities or on the outskirts. In addition, the cost of a purchase is lower outside the major metropolises. On the other hand, the rental is more impacted, because of the lag or abandonment of the demand. Containment has thus had a direct impact on the amount of offers available on the platform.
Consistent real estate trends, reflecting a new situation
In Bordeaux, the market is mainly geared towards renting premises. Since containment, rents have stabilized. Like a majority of cities of the same size in France, Bordeaux sees its price set at 200 euros per sq m. It continues to benefit from its attractiveness, especially for the business aspect. However, commercial real estate has been particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis, in Bordeaux as elsewhere. On the other hand, warehouses are the big winners of this unprecedented situation, especially given the success of e-commerce.
During the containment, Bureaux Locaux did its ueddle to enable the corporate real estate market to continue its activity, and to adapt to the constraints dictated by containment. These changes are part of a sustainable strategy that is bearing fruit to date.