Written by: John Padgett on Thursday 28/01/2016
The city centre of Leeds has had its second-most successful year ever in terms of take-up of office space and occupancy in 2015. This information has come via the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum who distribute definitive market data and are made up of leading surveying firms in the city, including Eddisons. The statistics for 2015 are second only to 2013 which was the city’s best ever year and the figures from the fourth quarter of the year were particularly promising, as the highest ever recorded.
A total volume of 680,100 square foot of office space in Leeds city centre changed hands or was transacted in the whole of 2015 which marked a 25% increase on the figures from 2014 and as mentioned, was only surpassed by the record topping figures of 2013. The figures for 2015 were also significantly higher than the average for the five-year period of 546,762 square foot.
The final period of 2015, Q4 2015, was the most successful, with more city centre office occupancy take-up recorded than ever before with take-up in the period reaching 267,187 square foot which marked a 138% increase on the previous period and a positive sign for the coming year. The largest letting of the whole year was also transacted in Q4 2015, 97,022 square foot which was pre-let to Sky at Leeds Dock.
Commenting as a representative for the Leeds Office Agents’ 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.”
The market out-of-town in Leeds also followed a similarly positive upturn with a 98,490 square foot of office space transacted in Q4 2015 and a take-up for the full year of 268,041 square foot which was again an increase on the previous year, this time of 13%. Many of the deals secured in the last quarter were for large premises of over 10,000 square foot including the largest of them all at 16,122 square foot, let to Cascade HR at the City West Business Park.
Senior Surveyor at Fox Lloyd Jones, Nick Salkeld also commented on the out-of-town market, saying: “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.”
A positive 2015 sets a good precedent for 2016 to continue in the same vein and for more businesses to make the most of what the Leeds business scene has to offer, both in the heart of the city but also in business and industrial sites around the outskirts and out-of-town areas.
A positive 2015 sets a good precedent for 2016 to continue in the same vein and for more businesses to make the most of what the Leeds business scene has to offer