10 October 2019/ rent_commercial_property_guide

Guide to renting commercial property in North England

Everything you need to know about renting commercial property in North England


The North of England is the area between the Scottish border and the River Trent. The single cultural area comprises three regions: the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East.

In all Northern regions there are vast areas of urbanisation, including Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, and South and West Yorkshire. As well as picturesque countryside landscapes, including the Northumberland, Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

There are many prestigious universities in North England. The University of Durham was the first, being founded in 1832. Leading research universities are now found in all major cities.

There’s more to the North than iconic bands, friendly people and cheaper house prices. North England had a strong export-based economy, with the North East being England’s only region to export more than it imports. Manchester and Leeds are two major hubs for corporate services and financial services. The Co-operative Group, which is based in Manchester, has the highest revenue of any North West firm. Also, in an attempt to lessen media centralisation in London, ITV and the BBC relocated to MediaCityUK in Salford, Greater Manchester.

North England is home to around 15 million people. The most populous region is the North West with 7.3 million, followed by Yorkshire with 5.4 million and then the North East with 2.4 million.

St Hughs LiverpoolSt Hughs - Stanley Rd, Liverpool L20 3QQ Office

The North West is the most populous region in North England

The population of Cheshire is approximately 1.1 million, and the residents have an average age of 42. Since 2002, this is estimated to have grown by almost 70,000. The county has a population density of 450 per square kilometre, and an average of 2.34 residents per household.

Cumbria has a population of around 498,000, and this has seen a small increase by 2% since 2002. Its residents have an average age of 44.2. The county has a much lower population density than Cheshire, at around 74 residents per square kilometre. This is because, despite being the third largest English county by area, Cumbria is one of the most rural with the spectacular Lake District National Park dominating the county. There is an average of 2.25 residents per household in Cumbria.

Greater Manchester is home to approximately 2.8 million people, making it the second-most populous urban area in the UK after Greater London. The population is high due to the county encompassing one of the UK’s largest metropolitan areas and including 10 metropolitan boroughs, two of these being the popular cities of Manchester and Salford. The average age in Greater Manchester is 38.2. This is lower than Cumbria and Cheshire due to Manchester having a large under-30s population, and the county having four universities – one of the largest student populations in the UK. The city of Manchester itself is known as the capital of the North. It has a population of around 545,500, making it the 5th most populous English district.

Lancashire has an estimated population of 1.5 million and an average age of 41. The county was a major industrial region in the Industrial Revolution. The seaside resort, Blackpool, is the most populous cities in Lancashire, followed by Blackburn and Preston. Blackpool has a higher percentage of over 65s (24.2%) compared to the national average of 18.2%. This is because of the popularity of seaside towns with retirees. There’s an average of 2.36 people per household in Lancashire and the population density is 485 per square kilometre. This is slightly higher than Cheshire’s, but much lower than Greater Manchester’s figure of 2,200.

Merseyside has around 1.4 million residents, with an average age of 40.5. Included in this county is the city of Liverpool, with an estimated population of 491,500. In Merseyside there is an average of 2.29 people living in each household, and it has the same population density as Greater Manchester.

North Yorkshire is the largest ceremonial county in England

North Yorkshire has an estimated population of 1.1 million, which is a growth of 6.1% since 2002. Its largest towns are Middleborough, York, Harrogate and Scarborough, with populations of 174,700, 152,841, 73,576 and 61,749 respectively. North Yorkshire is the largest ceremonial county in England by area, yet it has a rather small population density of 127 per square kilometre. Included in North Yorkshire are the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park. The residents in North Yorkshire have an average age of 42.4.

The population of West Yorkshire is an estimated 2.3 million, which has swelled by 10.2% since 2002. Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield are in the region, resulting in a high population density of 1,100 per square kilometre. The populations are 789,194 , 528,155, and 325,837 respectively.

South Yorkshire has a population of around 1.4 million. It comprises four metropolitan boroughs, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley and also its largest settlement - the city of Sheffield. Residents in South Yorkshire have an average age of 39.7, and 2.38 people per household. Sheffield is predominantly an under-30s population, partly due to its large student population.

There are approximately 599,000 people living in East Riding of Yorkshire, with an average age of 41.8 years. There are around 2.31 residents per household.

Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East

Tyne and Wear is home to around 1.1 million people, and it consists of five metropolitan boroughs. Included in this are the two cities Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland, and South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Gateshead. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, with around 300,196 people living there. This is significantly lower than the populations of Leeds and Manchester. In Tyne and Wear the average age is 40.3, whilst there are 2.28 residents per household.

Northumberland is England’s most northern county and it has a population of 319,000. Primarily inhabited by the over-40s, the average age in the county is 44.4. In fact, it has the third highest average age in England and Wales, whereas Greater Manchester has the fifth lowest.

Finally, County Durham has an estimated population of 920,000, with an average age of 41.3.

North England’s economy is below the UK’s average

Although the average salary in the UK for a full-time job in 2018 was £36,600, the majority of salaries in North England tend to be below this.

The only region in Greater Manchester that matches the UK average is Trafford, and Manchester falls just short at £35,900. Greater Manchester’s lowest average salary is found in Bolton, at £27,400, whilst in Cheshire it is £33,000 in Warrington. This is still considerably higher than its Greater Manchester counterpart. Yet, none of the regions in Cheshire reach the UK average. St Helen’s has the lowest average income in Merseyside, at £29,100, whilst the highest is Knowsley at £36,100. Wyre in Lancashire has the lowest average income in the whole of the North West, at £25,500, whilst Copeland in Cumbria has the highest, at £48,300.

None of the areas in Yorkshire have an average salary that reaches the UK average. In West Yorkshire, Leeds comes the closest at £33,900, in North Yorkshire it’s the notoriously affluent Harrogate at £35,100 and in South Yorkshire it’s Rotherham at £32,600. The districts with the lowest average incomes are mainly found in North Yorkshire, including £27,300 in Scarborough.

Similar to Yorkshire and the majority of the North West, none of the areas in the North East have an average income that meets the UK average.  Newcastle upon Tyne and Darlington come closest at £32,700 and £34,100 respectively.

The five areas with the highest incomes in the North of England are Darlington, Harrogate, Trafford, Manchester, and Copeland.

the boat shedBoat Shed - 12-26 Exchange Quay, Salford M5 3EQ

North England is connected by an extensive transport network

There are two main motorways connecting the North of England to the South- the M6 and the M1.

The M6 links many areas in the North West, connecting Cumbria, Lancaster, Preston, Warrington, Liverpool, and Manchester. It’s also the main western north-south motorway that connects the North West with the South. Whilst the M1 is the eastern equivalent and links Leeds to London. Yorkshire’s most prominent road is the A1, which is the primary route from Edinburgh to London. To the east is the A19, which runs from Doncaster to just above Newcastle. The M62 runs across the breadth of Yorkshire from Hull through to Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

North England has a well-connected rail network

The West Coast Main Line (Virgin Trains) connects most of North West England. Whilst the North TransPennine service connects Manchester with Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle. Passengers in Manchester can take the InterCity service to London and depart at Euston. The East Coast Main Line connects Newcastle, Darlington and Durham with London and Edinburgh. It takes just 3hrs to get from Newcastle to London and 2hrs 15 mins from Leeds.

You can catch the ferry in North England

Ferries in Liverpool sail to Dublin, Belfast and the Isle of Man. Whilst the Liverpool Cruise Terminal provides long distance transportation to France, Spain, Iceland and Norway. In North Shields you can take the ferry to Amsterdam and it runs twice a day.

The North West is home to one of the UK’s largest airports

Manchester Airport is the largest international airport in North England and the third largest in the UK. Around 28,300,000 passengers were served there in 2018. There are also international airports in Liverpool, Blackpool, Newcastle, Durham, Leeds and Doncaster.

Commercial rent guide to North England



A-grade Warrington offices cost an average of £18.50 PSF to rent, while prime industrial units will cost an average of £7 PSF.

Greater Manchester


Manchester’s average office rent PSF is between £28.50 and £37.50. Prime industrial units in the city are £7.25 PSF to rent, whilst secondary properties are £6.25. Rent prices are cheaper in Salford Keys, where Grade A offices cost an average of £24.50 PSF.



A-grade offices in Preston cost an average of £10 PSF to rent, while Lancashire’s prime industrial units cost £6 PSF.



Offices in Liverpool cost an average of £23 PSF. Prime industrial units will set you back around £6.25 PSF.

North Yorkshire


Harrogate’s average office rent PSF commands between £11 and £17.50. Whilst in York, this figure is higher, with prime office rents costing £20 PSF. Middlesbrough’s industrial units cost an average of £5 PSF.

West Yorkshire


Offices in Leeds cost between £24 and £30 PSF, whilst in Wakefield they command between £10 and £16 PSF to rent. Prime industrial units in Leeds cost, on average, £6.75 PSF, and in Wakefield it’s £6.25.

South Yorkshire


Sheffield’s A-grade offices cost an average of £25 to rent, with it being much lower in Barnsley (£14), Doncaster (£14), and Rotherham (£12.50). Prime industrial units in Doncaster command £6 PSF, whilst in Sheffield this rises to £6.50. 

East Riding of Yorkshire

Offices in Hull will set you back between £10 and £16 PSF, and prime industrial units cost an average of £5.50. 

Tyne and Wear

Newcastle A-grade offices cost an average of £24. This decreases to £17.50 in Gateshead and £12.50 in Sunderland. The prime industrial unit rent price in Newcastle is, on average, £6.50 PSF.

County Durham

In Durham, office cost between £12 and £16 PSF to rent.


See commercial properties to rent in your area.