Office market take-up on the rise in the city

Fountain Precinct, Sheffield
Fountain Precinct, Sheffield
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Take-up in the Sheffield office market was more than a third higher in the second quarter of 2013 than 2012, according to new research by Knight Frank.

The property consultants say 53,067 sq ft of office space was taken between April and June, bringing the total for the first half of the year to 113,052 sq ft – which is in turn more than five per cent higher than for the equivalent period in2012.

Knight Frank’s regional office chief, Stephen Hodgson, said: “The relatively healthy figures are a welcome boost.

“The second quarter also included increasing market activity in the legal sector, with a number of local solicitors looking to expand - Freeth Cartwright, Best Solicitors and Lupton Fawcett are reported to have collectively taken approximately 14,000 sq ft during this period.

“Availability of Grade A space slipped by 50,000 sq ft during the quarter to 350,000 sq ft, and, looking ahead, we expect supply levels to continue to fall, as obsolete office blocks are sold to developers for conversion to student housing. This isn’t just happening to our city region, though - the continuing erosion of Grade A space reflects a national trend across most regional markets prompted by the absence of new completions and/or development activity in the UK in general.”

Knight Frank says the lack of speculative development will continue to spur a rise in the number of enquiries from major occupiers.

It believes the launch of the new JESSICA fund, which will provide capital loans of up to £4.3 million a project for new office and industrial development in the city region will boost prospects for speculative development in the city in the long term. The company adds that the 100,000 sq ft Fountain Precinct in Sheffield city centre remains an attractive location and is now 97 per cent let.