A PROPERTY consultancy has reported a surge in office take-up in the Scottish capital with a further significant rise expected in the coming months as the country continues to move out of lockdown.

The take-up increased nearly 80 per cent in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the first three months of the year in Edinburgh as the economy began to re-emerge, according to analysis from Knight Frank.

Some of the deals had been delayed because of Covid, it said.

The independent commercial property consultancy found that around 160,000 sq ft of office space was transacted between April and June, up significantly on the around 90,000 sq ft of take-up in Q1 2021 and 10,900 sq ft during the same period last year at the height of the first lockdown.

HeraldScotland: Edinburgh from above.Edinburgh from above.

Professional services was the most active sector, while the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s 11,500 sq ft letting at 10 George Street was the largest deal of the quarter and the average letting size was 4,100 sq ft. There were also a large number of re-gears and lease renewals during the second quarter, which amounted to 58,000 sq ft of office space.

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Knight Frank said that, with lockdown restrictions easing, demand for space remaining consistently high, and people likely to start returning to offices in earnest towards the end of the summer, there could be a significant uptick in take-up activity from September.

Toby Withall, who is office agency partner at Knight Frank Edinburgh, said the second quarter of 2021 has built on the positive start during the first three months of the year

“It is highly encouraging to see so many businesses commit to office space, underlining the cautious optimism that has emerged with lockdown easing, the economy gradually re-opening, and companies looking beyond the pandemic,” he said.

“Part of the rise in activity can also be attributed to a number of the deals that were delayed by Covid-19 starting to conclude, with the handbrake coming off decision-making and office activity likely to increase after the summer."

Mr Withall also said: "This suggests that, although many occupiers understandably put commitments on hold during lockdown, offices remain a key part of their business plans, even if working from home still plays a part in how they operate in the future.

“That said, there are clear office trends emerging from the pandemic.

"More collaboration space and amenities for staff are becoming increasingly important for occupiers, along with the sustainability and energy efficiency of their property footprint – all of which will be important for landlords to keep front of mind,” he said.