Commercial office lettings in Cardiff are up 57% on the same quarter last year, according to new figures released by leading property agent Cooke & Arkwright.
According to the data, gathered by the Cardiff Commercial Property Forum, total space leased in the first quarter of 2017 was 150,500 sq. ft., compared with 95,000 sq. ft. for the same period last year.
The increase was largely driven by two major deals for Cardiff University (44,500 sq. ft) and Network Rail (30,000 sq. ft), as well as a key out-of-town deal for Garrison Barclay Estates (16,000 sq. ft).
The take-up was split equally between Grade A and B stock, with 80% within the city centre.
Cooke & Arkwright, named most Active Agent in Wales for 2016, advised Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) on its new headquarters at 2 Central Square, which will be completed in summer 2018. Network Rail also agreed a letting of the newly refurbished space at St Patrick’s House, with 19,880 sq. ft. left in the building.
Tim Lawley, Associate Director at Cooke & Arkwright specialising in office and industrial deals, states that the figures should continue to rise in 2017.
He said: “With the impending Government Property Unit deal, 2017 should be a strong year. Quarter-on-quarter, the performance in 2017 is ahead of 2016, which itself was an outstanding year for commercial lettings. While the 2017 increase so far is less dramatic than in several quarters in 2016, it nonetheless shows that the market is not slowing down.
“The pre-let activity at Central Square, and the development at Capital Quarter, are evidence of the continued demand for high-specification Grade A space. This strong demand is steadily driving up Cardiff’s rent per sq. ft.
“But while the latest figures are encouraging, they are largely a result of companies already residing in Wales moving to bigger premises. Cardiff must continue to position itself as an attractive office location for companies outside of Wales, in order to reach the high levels of growth experienced in other outward-looking cities like Birmingham and Bristol.
“In addition, the figures show the importance of Grade B stock in the market. There continues to be strong demand for this quality of office space, particular for smaller requirements.”
Cooke & Arkwright was recently named the overall winner for Wales in the Estates Gazette most active agent competition 2016, having advised on a number of high profile deals, including the acquisition of House of Fraser in Cardiff by Rosette Merchant Bank on behalf of Middle Eastern investors.