Leeds office market ends 2021 on a high according to latest figures

6 Wellington Place, Leeds. Photography by Bevan Cockerill

Figures released by the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum (LOAF) show office take-up for the final quarter of 2021 hit 146,503 sq ft in Leeds city centre, a 65% increase on the same quarter in 2020. In total, 624,192 sq ft of city centre office take-up was recorded in 2021, 85% higher compared to the previous year.

Of the 33 city centre deals to complete in the last three months of 2021, activity was buoyed by the 19,821 sq ft letting to co-working space provider Cubo, a new entrant to Leeds, who is set to open its doors at Wellington Place in the coming weeks. Conduent UK, the global client services technology business, made its first move to Leeds signing for 19,174 sq ft at One Leeds City Office Park.

Jeff Pearey from JLL said: “Despite lockdowns and the pandemic continuing to impact decision making from some businesses, encouragingly every single quarter last year was materially more active than 2020 with occupiers seeking better quality space where they could.

“Add to this confidence, relatively limited levels of city centre supply and we are inevitably starting to see upward pressure on rents for the best office space. There does appear to be more headroom in the market, given that office rents in Leeds continue to compare favourably to its regional peers, with Bristol and Edinburgh achieving or getting close to the £40 per sq ft mark.”

Last year, the out-of-town market transacted a total of 474,484 sq ft of office space, more than double the level of take-up seen in 2020 (172,627 sq ft). In the final three months of 2021, 56,336 sq ft was taken up across 21 deals.

Paddy Carter from Savills continued: “Attracted by the connectivity and the pending arrival of new train stations supporting White Rose Park and Thorpe Park, the out-of-town market continued to benefit from a broad range of occupier activity last year. The largest quarter-four out-of-town letting was for 12,415 sq ft at White Rose Park to NHS Shared Business Services, again evidencing a flight to quality in this sector of the market.

“With the focus on flexible working and employee wellbeing, we expect businesses to continue to use their workplaces as a tool to help attract and retain the best staff and out-of-town offices will continue to be a sustainable alternative for many.”

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, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills, and WSB.