Out of office: regional office outlook

Regional office outlook

Strong regional office take-up has created a space shortage. You’d think it would prompt a development drive, but no. Why are regional cities running out of office space just as demand is at its highest?

Take-up in Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Birmingham broke the 1m sq ft barrier, and Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and Sheffield all broke their annual take-up records.

Incredibly, this year started more positively still. The latest JLL figures show that total take-up across the ‘big six’ regional markets hit 1.3m sq ft in the first quarter – 44% up on the first quarter of last year and 14% higher than the five-year Q1 average.

Yet, despite the strong recent performance, Cushman & Wakefield has forecast no more than “moderate” leasing volumes for the year in its UK Marketbeat Q1 report, and other office experts predict take-up in 2018 will just be “reasonable”.

So why do clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon – and what can be done to disperse them?

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