Leeds office market set for '˜exciting and successful' 2019, says Knight Frank

YORKSHIRE'S office market is expected to enjoy another strong year as growing numbers of investors head to the North of England, according to Knight Frank, the global real estate consultants.

Henrie Westlake, head of Knight Franks Leeds office

Knight Frank’s profits increased by 14 per cent to £166.7m in the year ended March 31 2018 as the firm’s fortunes were boosted by “resilient” global demand. Group turnover rose by 10 per cent to £525.9m.

Alistair Elliott, senior partner and group chairman, said: “I am pleased to report another very strong set of results for the group.

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“Our turnover increased by 10 per cent in the face of volatile markets and political conditions around the world.

He added: “We believe that this is a reflection of the success of our concentration on organic and strategic investment in people over the past five years and is a tribute to the quality of our teams across the globe.

“If we reflect on our progress over the 10 years since the financial crisis, there is good reason to feel confident.

“Since 2008, we have substantially increased the scale, breadth and scope of our business and, recognising the cyclical nature of our markets, we have retained profits in order to build a strong balance sheet that has no net debt.

“We think that this is particularly important in the current environment.

“Our investment in technology continues apace as we continue to put our people and clients at the heart of what we do.

“Through our technology board, we investigate and adopt technologies that will improve client service and are right for our business without impeding on the personal relationships, on which we remain firmly focused.”

Mr Elliott said the UK had delivered “very encouraging” results, despite the ongoing uncertainty about outcomes surrounding Brexit.

All of Knight Frank’s service lines performed strongly, he said.

He added: “The UK commercial market continues to experience mixed conditions.

“The industrial sector remains strong and is popular with investors thanks to the e-commerce revolution, while the opposite is true for retail.

“Nationally, the office market is gradually improving and the absence of a Brexit-related downturn in occupier demand is encouraging investors to buy in central London.”

Henrie Westlake, head of Knight Frank’s Leeds office, said he was proud to contribute to Knight Frank’s success.

He added: “The firm understands the importance of the UK’s regional cities and invests in the best possible staff.

“I’m pleased to say our team in Leeds, across all sectors, is exceptionally strong.

“Two significant Leeds deals in which we have been heavily involved, the pre-let of 33 Wellington Street to Walker Morris and the sale of Minerva House for more than £20 million, are excellent example of the strength and buoyancy of the Leeds office and investment market right now.”

Mr Westlake added: “The outlook is very bright. Leeds is very well-connected; its retail offer is superb; and the quality of life in the city is far superior to London. There is every reason to be optimistic and no reason to think that recent office statistics were simply a never-to-be-repeated flash in the pan.

“With investors’ money ready and waiting, 2019 promises to be another exciting and successful year for the Leeds office market.”