Leeds, 19th April 2012 – The Leeds Agents' Forum has released its quarterly take-up figures for the Leeds office market which, for the first three months of 2012, show a discernible improvement in activity compared with the same period last year. Total take-up of office space in Leeds city centre in quarter one (Q1 2012) reached 155,847 sq ft which is an impressive 300 per cent increase compared with Q1 2011 when take-up reached just 37,000 sq ft.
Whilst the number of city centre transactions dropped to a 12 month low of 19 the average deal size increased with eight recorded in the plus 5,000 sq ft bracket. Set against the five year average (415,000 sq ft) the total city centre take-up in Q1 2012 already equates to 37 percent of the average annual volumes.
The most notable city centre transactions included the 63,552 sq ft disposal of 2 & 3 Victoria Place for Yorkshire Forward which is the largest city centre transaction for over six years, the 18,800 sq ft letting to Gratterpalm at No. 1 Leeds and the 17,000 sq ft letting to Dickinson Dees at No 1 Whitehall Riverside.
Commenting on the figures, Richard Thornton
, Office Agency Director in Jones Lang LaSalle's
Leeds office, said: "Following on from the positive end to 2011, which saw a 30.5 per cent year-on-year increase, we have seen a dramatic uptake in city centre take-up in the first three months of 2012. Last year's increase in volumes was led by lots of smaller sized lettings; in comparison Q1 2012 activity was dominated, albeit by a smaller number, of larger sized deals pointing to improving sentiment amongst the bigger occupiers.
"Looking ahead, whilst there are signs that some of the larger occupiers are once again making decisions, there remains a degree of caution in the market. A decent level of churn is still anticipated to drive the market coupled with the strong possibility of some large pre-letting activity."
In comparison, the out-of-town market saw less activity in Q1, following a strong previous quarter, recording take-up volumes of 56,000 sq ft over 21 deals. This was a six percent increase compared with the same period last year. Just three deals over 5,000 sq completed; the largest being the 10,000 sq ft freehold sale of 3310 Century Way, Thorpe Park to Helplink UK Ltd.
Roddy Morrison, Director at the Leeds office of Colliers International, concluded: "Occupier demand in the first three months has focused primarily on the city centre, with competition currently less intense for out-of-town office space. The city centre offering is very competitive at the moment. Astute, well advised occupiers are looking at commitments now in anticipation of incentive packages decreasing in late 2012 and into 2013."
The Leeds Agents' Forum was established to collate and distribute definitive office market information. Its members include BNP Paribas, Carter Towler, CBRE, Colliers International, DTZ, GVA, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.