2018 proves one of the strongest years for Leeds office take-up

St Paul’s House in Leeds city centre

Office leasing figures released by the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum (LOAF) show the city recorded one of its strongest years for office take-up last year.

According to data compiled by the leading office agents in Leeds, 2018 occupier take-up in the city centre reached a full year total of 663,233 sq ft, which is in line with the five-year average of 667,081 sq ft and 18% above the 10-year average (560,932 sq ft). 2018 take-up in the out-of-town market reached 399,582 sq ft, a 24% increase on the previous year.

Specifically, in Quarter 4 (Q4) transactional activity in Leeds city centre totalled 134,579 sq ft across 35 deals. Deals over 10,000 sq ft included Orega taking 11,160 sq ft at St Paul’s House and 10,500 sq ft let to ICS Media Group at 2 Park Lane.

LOAF spokesperson, Chris Hartnell from Carter Jonas, said: “2017 was an exceptional year for office take-up, which saw over one million sq ft transacted. If you take out the largest letting from that year’s total – 378,000 sq ft – 2018 was every bit as good, in terms of occupier activity.

“One of the largest city centre lettings in Q4 was to a serviced office specialist. The flexible office sector has continued to disrupt the market, especially in London, and we are now beginning to see increased activity within the Leeds and regional markets. This is a trend we expect to see continue throughout 2019.”

According to LOAF’s data, a total of 61,673 sq ft of offices, across 21 deals, were transacted across the out-of-town market between October and December last year. The 15,767 sq ft pre-let to Pharmacy2U at Scarborough Property Group’s Lumina, Thorpe Park was the largest deal to conclude.

Alex Hailey from CBRE added: “In the out of town market, activity at Kirkstall Forge, Thorpe Park and White Rose Office Park underpinned the healthy take-up we saw last year. We saw 22% growth compared with 2017 year-end total, heralding an increased interest in out of town product.

“With current supply levels and the advent of any new space looking constrained, both in and out of town, demand for office space in the city and wider region, will continue to outstrip supply this year. Uncertainty around Brexit makes speculative development a riskier prospect with developers more likely to seek out refurbishments and pre-lets in the short term.”

The Leeds Office Agents’ Forum was established to collate and distribute definitive office market data. Its members are BNP Paribas, Bowcliffe, Carter Towler, Carter Jonas, CBRE, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Eddisons, Fox Lloyd Jones, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.