The report recently published by Savills, referring to a projected growth in demand for Grade A office space in major UK regional centres over the next five years, makes interesting reading.
The perception is that more and more of us are working from home more of the time, benefitting from highly adaptable IT systems, but this research puts a different light on that; and provides some encouragement to commercial property developers in so far as supply stream is dwindling and rents are forecast to increase.
Meanwhile, the recent announcement that a new HMRC Office Staff Hub is to be sited in Wellington Place in Leeds is great news for Leeds’ burgeoning central area, which is spreading out along the River Aire and up Whitehall Road, but is not welcome in smaller centres in the Region which will lose out as a result. Bradford, Shipley and (I am told) Barnsley to name a few.
The old adage ‘success breeds success’ seems to be particularly true here, with Government agencies as well as private commerce wanting to be based in growing centres who already boast a huge range of professional and financial services.
One of the reasons for the declining supply of office accommodation is that an increasing number of buildings (albeit mainly the older ones in secondary office locations) have been converted into residential use under the Permitted Development Order in recent years. In many cases they can make attractive apartments when design flare is put to good use; and for those Cities which have a lively student sector, this certainly provides an additional strong point for the developer who is not dependent entirely on the young professionals market to fill the completed units.
It would seem, as well, that increasing strain on transport infrastructure in the more heavily populated parts of the North is discouraging some workers from attempting lengthy commutes in and out and increasing the demand for city centre living.
Andrew Idle Associates regularly look after clients with office property, though we don’t always necessarily re-let vacant suites as office accommodation. They have often been taken by leisure ventures in recent times, even in Leeds.