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Agents report bumper Q1 for Leeds offices

City centre take-up more than doubled on the previous quarter in the first three months of 2024, the Leeds Office Agents Forum said, falling just short of the 250,000 sq ft mark.

According to LOAF, 249,703 sq ft of office take-up was recorded in the central market in Q1, marking a 122% increase compared with the last quarter of 2023.

Over the first three months of 2024, 31 city centre office transactions were completed, with the average deal size increasing from 3,508 sq ft recorded in Q4 2023 to 8,055 sq ft.

The Q1 figures were boosted by three deals that could be called ‘chunky’ in any regional office market, each exceeding 25,000 sq ft.

These included the 37,865 sq ft letting to insurance firm QBE at Bruntwood SciTech’s newly redeveloped West Village scheme, while accountancy firm EY signed for 25,303 sq ft at 12 Wellington Place.

Global Banking School committed to 29,407 sq ft at 1 Wellington Place to support its expansion.

Alex Hailey, senior director at CBRE, said: “Any quarter where city centre take-up surpasses 200,000 sq ft is a very encouraging result for investors and building owners.

“Take-up volumes in this quarter also underpin the healthy confidence of businesses in Leeds city centre with 12 deals over 5,000 sq ft completed, compared to seven at the close of last year.”

Toby Nield, director at Savills, added: “Wellington Place has proved to be a popular destination for occupiers in Q1. It not only attracted EY and Global Banking School, but Lloyds Bank and Cubo also committed to taking more expansion space and Evelyn Partners is expected to relocate there in the second half of the year.”

According to the Forum, rental levels in the city centre continued to move upward, reflecting a lack of quality office stock and pressure on available space. More than 30% of the 31 city centre deals were agreed at rents of over £30 per sq ft.

In the out-of-town market, 39,540 sq ft of office take-up was recorded across 14 deals, with the largest transaction being at Tomlinson House, Capitol Park comprising 11,153 sq ft of freehold space.

“The subdued out-of-town market activity reflects the lack of superior quality office stock now available,” noted Richard Dunn, a partner with Sanderson Weatherall.

Dunn concluded: “Supply remains a pressing issue in both markets and with little new construction expected in 2024 the choice of new or improved space for occupiers looks unlikely to change until 2026. Our advice to businesses considering their workplace requirements is to commit to space as soon as they can rather than deferring relocation decisions.”

LOAF members include Avison Young, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Bowcliffe, Carter Towler, Carter Jonas, CBRE, Colliers, Cushman & Wakefield, Fox Lloyd Jones, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.