North East property and development leaders are expecting demand to continue to rise within the region’s office market thanks to the increase in enquiries for premium space post covid.

Last year the North East reported its most successful year of lettings on record and according to Developing Consensus members, this year could be another record-breaker.

Patrick Matheson, Partner at Knight Frank, said: “The main trend we are seeing is occupiers looking to move to premium quality space, with the majority of transactions in the market over the first five months of the year involving Grade A stock. 

“This is fueled by businesses wanting to provide a first class working environment for their staff. We are seeing lots of businesses using this ‘flight to quality’ to aid both staff retention and also staff attraction.”

The sentiment is echoed by Charlie Hoult, Managing Director of HyHubs who own and operate four high quality office hubs across the Newcastle area.

Charlie said: “Although businesses are thriving and taking out record-breaking deals for space, recruitment is growing increasingly more difficult. To counteract this, businesses are working to reshape their work cultures to become more attractive to jobseekers with their office-fit outs being a core element of this.

“We’ve seen a lot more businesses seeking out expert help over the last year to help transform their old-fashioned office spaces into forward-thinking attractive hubs, which enhance employee experience and ultimately make their business more attractive to new talent.”

In addition to this, both concur that versatility is key when it comes to the post pandemic workplace.

Charlie continued: “Here at HyHubs, we’ve been living in almost a post-pandemic state offering flexible working spaces since we launched our offices at Hoults Yard all those years ago. We realised very early on that flexibility, hub-based workspaces and the opportunity to select individual office-based services was the way forward. 

“In the coming years, I think we’ll be seeing even more multinational corporations looking to rent space and meeting rooms on a more ad-hoc basis, or innovative smaller businesses who are thriving thanks to their use of technology and are looking for regional bases closer to their core teams.”

Patrick added: “In many cases the shift to a hybrid working model for businesses can often mean more space is taken up by collaboration areas, quiet rooms and informal breakout space, than in a traditionally set up office meaning even more demand.

Bringing new office development forward is fundamental to sustaining growth in the North East market. With the huge change in occupier needs, it is important that the right stock is being delivered to accommodate this and where new development isn’t possible, it is vital that refurbishment of existing buildings are carried out to the very highest standards.”