How Much Does It Cost To Rent Office Space In The UK?
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  • The Cost of UK Office Space

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  • While the take-up for office space across the UK remains inconsistent as businesses find and establish their own flexible and hybrid working models in the return to work, finding the right kind of workspace at the right cost is still crucial for every business’ success.

    With 61% of UK workers returning to their workplace either full-time or as part of a hybrid working option, the return to the office is underway. As businesses throughout the major cities in the UK continue to develop their working strategies, the emerging opportunities to maximise the efficiency of their space means that property experts are still anticipating growth and recovery as we move throughout the remaining quarters of 2021.

    The average cost of office space across the UK can range massively depending on the location, the type of property, the grade of the space, and the time it’s been on the market. We have put together a summary of some of the major players, outlining the average costs of office space in both the city centers and fringes of key locations throughout the UK.

  • The Cost of UK Office Space in 2021

    LocationCity Rent Cost (per sq ft) Fringe Rent Cost (per sq ft)
    Manchester£30 - £37.50£25 - £35
    Leeds£25 - £33£18 - £25
    Newcastle£18 - £26£12 - £16
    Liverpool£18 - £25£15 - £22
    Birmingham£25 - £37£18 - £26
    Bristol£35 - £40£17.50 - £22
    Brighton£32.50 – £36£25 – £30
    Reading£28 - £39.50£24 - £39.50
    Cambridge£38 - £48.50£28 - £36
    Oxford£40 - £47.50£28 - £35
    London£60 - £85£35 - £60

    These costs are a guide provided by local commercial property experts and rent reports. Costs are updated each quarter, and are subject to change.

  • 1. Manchester

    Manchester is one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities outside of London but has lower rental costs in comparison to the Capital. The thriving city in the northwest of England is at the centre of both the UK’s creative industries and scientific and digital innovation but is also popular for major industries like finance, legal and business services, biotechnology, and tourism.

  • Manchester-aspect-ratio-3840-2160
  • Manchester is innovative, competitive and attractive to investors yet reasonably priced, and has excellent transport links making it a great city to base your business in. This, along with the development of the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse high speed rail, will increase Manchester’s connectivity to other cities.

    As their employees return to the office, these creative and research-based businesses are increasingly drawn to non-traditional agile spaces. These spaces have been built to support flexible working strategies in the hopes of maximising their floorplate. The total office supply in Manchester city centre currently sits at 3.8 million sq ft, with Grade A availability at 1.3 million sq ft, increasing by 6% since the end of 2020.

    Its tenant mix varies from companies with regional or global headquarters which include Adidas, Siemens, Kellogg’s and Baker Tilly LLP.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Manchester:

    • Piccadilly
    • Spinningfields
    • Ancoats
  • 2. Leeds

    In the heart of Yorkshire, this third largest city has a rich industrial past which is balanced by its modern, energetic culture. It is home to businesses specialising in healthcare, innovation, insurance and banking and has one largest legal centres in the UK. Leeds provides an office location in a growing economy, although with more cost effective prices compared to London.

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  • Many businesses in Leeds are concentrated in the central business district which is linked by the Leeds Inner Ring Road. However, there are a large number of business developments in the city fringes too making it perfect for a business with a tighter budget or the need to be closer to connecting motorways.

    HMRC, NHS Digital and Channel 4 all creating their own new hub spaces in this fast-growing city. Serviced office providers like incspaces, Instant Offices and 2-Work collectively owning over 50,000 sq ft of office space, demand for workspace in this fast-growing city increased by 17% in Q1 of 2021 compared to the year before, and 8% above the Q1 five-year average at 168,996 sq ft.

    Its tenant mix varies from Asda, Capita, Jet2, Sky and GHD.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Leeds:

    • Leeds Central
    • Burley
    • Beeston
    • Pudsey
    • Hyde Park
    • Hunslet
  • 3. Liverpool

    This cultural capital of the UK hosts businesses across a wide range of sectors, from educational, pharmaceutical manufacturing to accountancy and legal services. Liverpool has the largest collection of Grade II listed buildings outside of London so finding unique office space isn’t a problem. Rental costs are considerably cheaper than comparative cities such as Manchester, meaning the city is well positioned to develop more space and become a cost-effective option for companies to set up and grow.

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  • While office moves decreased by 50% during the pandemic, the private sector is recovering as we move into the return to work. There were 130 property deals in Liverpool City Region in 2020, equating to 282,261 square feet of space, with the health and life sciences sector displaying a 10.23% increase on the year before. However, a lack of Grade A office space in Liverpool and the wider City Region highlights a need for development in order to maintain relevancy.

    Its tenant mix varies from Jacobs Crackers, Unilever, Typhoo and The Very Group.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Liverpool:

    • City Centre
    • St Paul’s
    • The Docks
    • Knowledge Quarter
    • Wavertree Technology Park
  • 4. Newcastle

    Situated in the northeast of England, this city has earned an international reputation for medical sciences and sustainability. Newcastle has become an attractive place to work, learn and invest, with a growing business reputation and pride in its skilful and driven workforce. Human health and social work rank as the top business sectors in the city, followed by real estate activities and information and communication. Digital, advanced manufacturing and health and life sciences are areas of importance in the city with an aim to grow further.

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  • During Q1, office space take-up in Newcastle was up by 70% on the same time last year, with Grade A city centre space remaining at around 150,000 sq ft of space currently available. Experts predict a strong recovery, with many companies focusing on effective space rationalisation and quality workspace over traditional open-plan desking.

    Its tenant profile varies from Sage, Greggs, Virgin Money and Accenture.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Newcastle:

    • Quayside
    • Grey Street
    • Newcastle Helix
    • Cobalt
    • Quorum
  • 5. Birmingham

    The second largest city in the UK, Birmingham’s economy is mostly related to the trade, finance and research sectors, but also now features the highest number of start-up businesses outside of London. Birmingham boasts the second largest metropolitan economy in the UK, along with six universities to attract talent from. The continuing future developments will provide exciting opportunities for expansion within the city.

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  • Although in Q1 of 2021 office take-up was 73% below the five-year quarterly average at 49,837 sq ft, the Deloitte CFO Survey showed a 13-year high in optimism among CFOs. As well as the current office take-up being up 16% on the same time in 2020, and at the same level as in 2019. Experts predict that this pent-up demand of offices will translate into greater take-up as we continue into the year.

    Its tenant profile varies from National Express, N Power, Deloitte, KPMG and Cadbury.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Birmingham:

    • Birmingham Central
    • Digbeth
    • Solihull
    • Eastside
    • Southside
    • Westside
  • 6. Bristol

    Diverse, prosperous, lively, and the largest city in the southwest of England, Bristol is the major importer of grain, timber, fresh produce and automotive vehicles into the UK. The city is also home to creative media, aerospace, electronics, IT, tourism, financial services and defence industries. Bristol is one of the largest centres for employment and education, with two universities providing a diverse talent pool to employers.

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  • In Bristol, Q1 2021 investment volumes in the office space market reached £85 million, matching the highest quarterly total in the past 12 months, and while the supply of Grade A office space remains limited, new developments totalling 135,000 sq ft and active requirements from BBC and Arup indicate an encouraging future uptake.

    Its tenant profile varies from Ministry of Defence, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Aviva, RAC and Hargreaves Lansdown.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Bristol:

    • Temple Meads
    • Broadmead
    • Clifton
    • Aztec West
  • 7. Brighton

    Brighton is a lively city located on the south coast in the county of East Sussex well-known for its aura of creativity. The city is also recognised for its strong digital community and is also popular with science and environmental businesses due to its prime coastal location and access to natural assets.

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  • The Brighton market is seeing renewed levels of new Grade A space becoming available in 2021 and 2022.

    Its tenant profile includes American Express, Domestic & General, Higgidy Pies, Paxton Access, and Brand Watch.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Brighton:

    • City Centre
    • North Laine
    • South Laine
  • 8. Reading

    Reading is a lively town located in Berkshire. It is situated on the main motorway out of central London to Bristol and has easy access to national train networks. With 50% of its population educated to a degree level or equivalent, Reading has one of the most productive economies in the UK.

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  • Reading has produced world-leading research in health, business, archaeology and climate change. The town is top for technology employment and boasts one of the highest densities of technology businesses across the UK. Reading has also flourished into a regional hub for business and financial services.

    Its tenant profile includes companies such as Microsoft, Vodafone, Oracle and Prudential.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Reading:

    • Town Centre
    • Green Park
    • Thames Valley Park
    • Caversham
  • 9. Cambridge

    Cambridge is a well-established global centre of science and technology. As Cambridge is known for having one of the top five universities in the world, the huge talent pool continues to attract employers to rent office space in Cambridge.

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  • Cambridge benefits from its proximity to London and has a train link to the capital and Cambridge Science Park. While prices are high and are expected to continue to rise, the construction of new office space will help to drive competition and keep office rent levels at a reasonable level.

    Its tenant mix varies from start-ups to major players in the technology and biopharmaceutical fields like Apple, Microsoft, Grant Thornton and AstraZeneca.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Cambridge:

    • City Centre
    • Cambourne
    • Cambridge Science Park
  • 10. Oxford

    The city is driven by medical research and technology businesses, it’s also known for its university so business’ can access a highly educated talent. Oxford has seen a demand for coworking, flexible and serviced office space, with the likes of Oxford Nanopore Technology and Adaptimmune arriving over the last few years.

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  • Start-ups have also made Oxford their home in the bid to secure some of the talent the city offers. Business’ have access to some of the best transport links in England, fantastic motorway links, trains, buses and airports are easy to access, offering good connections to other cities.

    Its tenant mix varies from start-ups to major players in the technology and biopharmaceutical fields like Apple, Microsoft, Grant Thornton and AstraZeneca.

    Most popular areas to rent office space in Oxford:

    • Oxford Science Park
    • Oxford Business Park
    • Bicester
    • Abingdon
  • 11. London

    As the capital city of the UK, the market for office space in London is understandably markedly higher than in Birmingham or Manchester. However, with varying rates across each borough and region of the city, our article on the cost of office space in London goes into detail on how the pandemic has impacted the demand for office space. The article also covers the kind of flexible and Grade A space that investors are still pursuing.

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  • Our workplace experts have an unparalleled understanding of the UK’s tenant and landlord markets. Contact us below for help concerning your next steps, or to find out more about our office relocation and fit out services.

  • The Guide to Finding the Right Office Space

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