H1 2021 out-of-town office take-up surpassed Leeds city centre for first time in ten years

Apson House at Colton Mill Office Park.

For the first time in a decade, occupier demand for office space in the Leeds out-of-town market, between January and the end of June 2021, has surpassed the total amount of city centre space let over the same period, according to the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum.

The latest take-up data shows 307,546 sq ft of office deals completed in the first half of this year (H1 2021) in the out-of-town market compared with 275,146 sq ft of offices taken up in Leeds city centre.

Richard Fraser from Carter Towler said: “Out-of-town take-up in the first half of 2021 was six times higher than the level recorded over same period last year.

“Businesses are making decisions rapidly and perhaps heightened by the pandemic, many are seeking accessible locations that allow employees to commute by car or make shorter journeys to business parks as an essential option.”

In the second quarter of 2021 (Q2 2021), 98,034 sq ft of offices in the Leeds out-of-town market was transacted. Of the 36 deals, the largest in terms of size were Pure Technology, who acquired 14,154 sq ft in Calverley, and First Locate, who took 12,100 sq ft, at Apson House at Colton Mill Office Park.

The Leeds Office Agents’ Forum highlighted the city centre market has also continued to show its resilience over the first of half of 2021. By the end of June, 275,146 sq ft of office transactions had completed, a 72% increase in take-up compared to the first six months of 2020.

In Q2 2021, 106,150 sq ft of city centre office space transacted across 17 deals. The largest was the 41,097 sq ft letting to Global Banking School who took the entirety of St George House on Great George Street. This, said the Forum, is a major new occupier for Leeds and a clear reflection of the city’s financial sector dominance over other regional cities.

Liam Ridley from BNP Paribas added: “The role of the office may be changing because of the pandemic yet, even if companies continue with homeworking options for their employees, our take-up data shows considerable appetite for returning to a physical place of work.

“Occupier demand has remained strong in Leeds for city centre and prime out-of- town offices and we predict this will continue in the second half of this year.”

The Leeds Office Agents’ Forum is made up of Avison Young, BNP Paribas, Bowcliffe, Carter Towler, Carter Jonas, CBRE, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Eddisons, Fox Lloyd Jones, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, OBI, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.