Larger offices planned by 10% of firms in 2016, survey says

One in 10 businesses in the North West said they will be looking for larger premises in the next 12 months, according to a survey by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Irwin Mitchell’s third Business Occupancy survey found that out of the organisations with active requirements for larger premises, 30% thought that city centre locations were the most appealing option. A similar proportion said they were looking at space near strategic transport hubs as they looked to expand.

Out of those that said they were not looking to take on more space or relocate, 30% still said that they were introducing flexible working and hot desks to cope with the increasing demand.

The proportion of companies that were looking to expand in the region was broadly in line with the national figure (15%).

The report surveyed the opinion of 250 business decision-makers nationwide and found that in the North West, where the sample was 55, just under half (45.8%) predicted that rents would increase during the next 12 months.

A similar proportion thought landlords were becoming complacent in the current market with 29% claiming that they thought landlords were increasing service charges without justification.

In addition to asking about commercial property requirements, the survey revealed the current priorities of businesses operating within the region. It found that 37% thought that the most important factor that would fuel economic growth would be improving transport connections between regional cities.

When asked which infrastructure projects would have the most positive impact, 39% said the construction of new or an upgrade to railways. This was more than double the proportion who said the priority was expanding the capacity of UK airports.

Anita Weightman, partner and head of real estate at Irwin Mitchell in Manchester, said: “Commercial property requirements can be an accurate barometer of economic sentiment and although the majority said that they were looking to stay where they are, many say that they are adapting their premises to accommodate more people. The fact that one in 10 say that they are looking to take on more space is certainly a positive development.”

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