Property People: Chris Ward of CBRE

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What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber?

The prospects are very encouraging, given the marked increase in activity across the region, particularly in Leeds city centre. While development projects are still coming out of the ground, there is a shortage of Grade A offices in the city and this shortage of supply is having a positive effect on rents. Landlords are finally beginning to achieve rental growth, which has been something of a rarity for the last six or seven years. Rent free packages and other incentives are also reducing considerably on new leases. On the whole, things are certainly looking up.

What is the best project you have been involved in?

Working in rent reviews and lease renewals, I spend a lot of time negotiating on behalf of my clients. It can be very rewarding to successfully negotiate the right rent and lease terms for your client, particularly if the negotiation has been a long and hard-fought process.

What is your favourite building in the region and why?

I would have to say the Victoria Quarter. It has been perfectly restored from the original Victorian Arcades and is unrivalled as the premium shopping destination in the city. If anyone were ever to ask where to visit in Leeds I would send them to the VQ. I think it gives a really good impression of Leeds and Yorkshire.

If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?

I know it has been said a million times before, but banks need to start lending again in order to give the regional property market a big boost. Things are certainly getting

better; but smaller landlords and developers are still finding it difficult to obtain finance.