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Yorkshire industrial market at ‘crunch point’ due to lack of large distribution warehouse availability


Low availability of large distribution warehouses (100,000 sq ft +) has brought the Yorkshire Industrial market to a ‘crunch point’ which will result in higher prime rents moving into 2021, according to global real estate advisor Colliers International.

Latest insights from the Colliers International Industrial & Logistics Rents Map for the UK show prime rents for large distribution warehouses continuing to show significant resilience. Rob Whatmuff, director in Colliers’ Industrial & Logistics team in Yorkshire, predicted prices could be driven higher by a combination of lack of current availability and the upcoming delivery, albeit limited in number, of new speculative buildings in prime locations.

“The Yorkshire market is at a crunch point with a critically low supply for large distribution warehouses equal or greater than 100,000 sq ft,” said Whatmuff. “The majority large single unit transactions over the past couple of years have been build-to-suit, which has helped to keep vacancy levels low. The growth in e-commerce across the UK, further accelerated by the ongoing pandemic, has re-ignited the appetite for developers to look at speculative development in Yorkshire’s key logistics locations. The UK logistics market is proving once again to be almost economically countercyclical – seeing growth when other sectors of the market are faring less well, and we anticipate continued demand for Grade A buildings to drive new headline rents as occupiers compete to fulfil their requirements. This demand, coupled with the insatiable appetite from investors to increase their ownerships within the asset class, is providing developers with the confidence to speculatively build the product the market needs.” 

“Recent notable leasing activity included Butternut Box, taking 151,000 sq ft of speculatively built space at Tritax Symmetry’s Symmetry Park Doncaster; Verona Tiles taking 106,000 sq ft of speculatively-built space at Nimbus Park Doncaster; Corecare Global acquiring 399,000 sq ft at Wakefield Europort; and, TJ Morris announcing a circa 800,000 sq ft warehouse at Unity, Doncaster. In addition, further sites in Leeds, Wakefield and Hull have recently been announced to provide multi-storey warehouse solutions, linked to the UK’s worst kept (and most acquisitive) ‘secret’ occupier, with other sites in the region also reportedly pipelined.

“As a result, take up reached 5.4 million sq ft in Q1-Q3 2020, the highest ever recorded. Prime rents are proving resilient in this challenging economic environment and if demand continues to be this elevated, it would not come as a surprise to see rents pressing beyond £6.25 per sq ft for larger distribution warehouses into 2021.”

Data from the latest Colliers Rents Map shows that prime industrial rents in Yorkshire for smaller units (20,000 to 100,000 sq ft) are at around £6.50 per sq ft, as achieved at Whitehall Point in Leeds, when 31,500 sq ft of space was let, prior to completion in March.

Simon Hill, Associate Director within Colliers’ Industrial and Logistics team in Leeds, added: “Quoting rents on new schemes have risen and we expect rents to consistently achieve in excess of £6.75 per sq ft over the next 12 months. We understand that an undisclosed occupier is under offer on a slightly smaller unit (17,000 sq ft) at Towngate Link, at what will be a new headline rent for this size of unit at £7.50 per sq ft.

“Rents for smaller warehouses are witnessing even more inflationary pressure due to limited development activity, with prime rents in the Leeds area at around £7.50 to £8.00 per sq ft.  This is a 7.4% increase year on year.”

Whatmuff added that there was still strong appetite for land acquisition in Yorkshire to accommodate medium and large distribution warehouses, with headline land value per acre reaching in excess of £650,000.  The most recent notable land acquisition in the region occurred when Tungsten Properties acquired 10 acres at Interchange 26 Bradford, J26 M62, at a price of £680,000 an acre.


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Rob Whatmuff

Head of Leeds Office

Industrial and Logistics


I have over nineteen years experience in all aspects of Agency Surveying with a particular specialism within the Industrial and Logistics field. I work with a range of institutional clients, corporate occupiers and developer/property companies providing strategic property advice, acquisition/disposal and development advice.

I have acted on behalf of both occupiers, landlords and developers on several key regional transactions including:

  • Acting on behalf of Lidl, acquired 35 acres at iPort Doncaster for a 685,000 sq. ft. Regional Distribution Centre.
  • Acting on behalf of Verdion on the iPort Doncaster scheme, the Yorkshire Regions most high profile and successful development, including leasehold occupier transactions to Amazon (2.1m sq. ft.), Fellowes (142,750 sq. ft.), CEVA (215,900 sq. ft.).
  • Occupier acquisition advice to companies including Lidl, Reckitt Benckiser, Dixons Carphone, ASDA, Ocado, Jaguar Land Rover, Magan, Siemens, Superdrug, Selco.
  • Development advice on behalf of leading developers such as Verdion, Tritax Symmetry, Peel Group, Network Space, Stoford Developments, Citrus Group and Highgrove Plc.
  • Acting on behalf of Aberdeen Standard, successfully let 415,000 sq. ft. at First Point, Doncaster to Amazon.
  • Acting on behalf of WP Carey, sold a former printworks complex in Leeds comprising 190,000 sq. ft. facility on a 4.88 acre site to Caddick Developments. Retained by the purchaser, the site was subsequently comprehensively reconfigured and refurbished, resulting in a letting of the whole to Leeds City Council.
  • Acting on behalf of Network Space, disposed of a 60 acre logistics development site in Worksop to DHL.
  • Acting on behalf of Dixons Carphone, acquired 425,000 sq. ft. at Leeds Bradford Airport Distribution Park.
  • Acting on behalf of Sainsbury Plc, disposed of the 400,000 sq. ft. former Argos RDC at Wakefield Europort.
  • Acting on behalf of Tritax Symmetry, acquired a 90 acre development site in the North East of England with subsequent pre-let of 1,507,000 sq ft RDC to Amazon on an institutional lease.
  • Acting on behalf of Glentrool, pre-sold 50,000 sq. ft. to Cromwell Polythene.
  • Acting on behalf of Wilton Developments, let 135,000 sq. ft. at Latitide 135 Wakefield to WH Malcolm and 50,000 sq. ft. at Connex 50 Leeds to FedEx.

Current Position - 2015 onwards - Director - Industrial & Logistics, Colliers International

Previous Positions:

2007 - 2014 - Head of Office & Director Industrial & Logistics North at Lambert Smith Hampton

2001 - 2007 - Senior Surveyor at King Sturge

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Simon Hill

Associate Director

Industrial and Logistics


I have over 11 years’ experience in Industrial, Logistics & Manufacturing sectors, providing agency and development advice to a wide range of clients.

Current Position - Associate Director Industrial & Logistics at Colliers International

Previous Positions

  • Lambert Smith Hampton: 2011 - 2015
  • Royal Haskoning DHV: 2007 - 2010


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Suzy Simpson

Head of Content, Communications and PR


London - West End

As Head of Content, Communications & PR for Colliers in the UK, I am responsible for driving the strategic direction of corporate communications, media relations, and the programming and production of multi-channel content to engage external and internal audiences across the UK.

Get in touch for help with: 

  • Content Communication Strategy 
  • Media Relations
  • Corporate & Internal Communications
  • Media Training & Personal Brand Training


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