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Second highest year on record for Leeds city centre office take-up

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25 Jan 2016

Office occupier take-up in Leeds during 2015 saw its second highest year on record* according to the latest data from the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum. A total of 680,100 sq ft of office space in Leeds city centre was transacted across the full year, up 25 per cent from the previous year’s total of 545,006 sq ft. The level of city centre activity in 2015 is second only to the record year witnessed in 2013 and significantly above the five year average of 546,762 sq ft

The final quarter of the year (Q4 2015) saw the highest volume of city centre deals ever recorded (53) with take-up reaching 267,187 sq ft, up 138 per cent over the previous quarter.  In Q4, there were five city centre deals of over 10,000 sq ft with the pre-let to Sky at Leeds Dock, totalling 97,022 sq ft, the largest letting of the year.

Speaking on behalf of the Forum, Robin Beagley, Partner at WSB Property Consultants, said: “Activity in the Leeds office market has exceeded our expectations – overall city centre take-up is the second highest after the record breaking year of 2013.  Activity in the final quarter was particularly strong, not only did we see the biggest letting of the year, a couple of long-running requirements, namely Harrison Goddard Foote agreeing terms at 1 City Walk and Leeds University taking space at 21 Queen Street, finally came to fruition.

“Looking ahead, with buildings 5 and 6 Wellington Place, Central Square, 6 Queen Street and 3 Sovereign Square coming on stream during 2016, the future of the city centre office market looks extremely positive.”

A similar picture was witnessed in the out-of-town office market which recorded 98,490 sq ft of take-up in the last quarter of 2015 and a full year figure of 268,041 sq ft, up 13 percent on 2014 (236,719 sq ft).  Of the 23 deals to complete in the final quarter four deals were over 10,000 sq ft. The largest was the 16,122 sq ft letting to Cascade HR at City West Business Park.  An additional highlight, according to the Forum, was the setting of a new out-of-town headline rent for an existing building of £18 per sq ft where Hain Daniels acquired 11,529 sq ft at Building 2100, Thorpe Park.

Nick Salkeld, Senior Surveyor at Fox Lloyd Jones, added: “We have seen a resurgence in the out-of-town market with circa 270,000 sq ft of take-up during 2015 and a new headline rent set which is testament to the demand for improved quality of stock. The market will be strengthened by new development planned at Thorpe Park, WROP and Kirkstall Forge where these quality benchmarks look set to compete with the city centre stock. These schemes complement existing stock levels across the city and ensure occupiers considering Leeds will be able to choose from a wider range of quality options.”

The Leeds Office Agents' Forum was established in 2010 by the leading surveying firms based in Leeds to collate and distribute definitive market data. Its members are BNP Paribas, Carter Towler, CBRE, Colliers International, DTZ, Eddisons, Fox Lloyd Jones, Bilfinger GVA, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.