Piccadilly Place, Longmead, p.RDPR

Atkins's 38,000 sq ft letting was the largest of the quarter. Credit: via RDPR

MOAF: Agents hopeful despite Q1 take-up drop

Deals for 173,000 sq ft of office space completed in the first three months of the year compared to 205,000 in the same period last year, according to the Manchester Office Agents Forum.

Atkins’ 38,000 sq ft letting at Longmead’s 3 Piccadilly Place was the highlight of the first quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, DAC Beachcroft took 13,200 sq ft at Barings’ Landmark.

In total 50 deals were completed between the beginning of January and the end of March.

JLL, which compiled the MOAF stats for Q1, expects the number of transactions to increase as the year progresses.

“While floorspace let shows a slight decline year-on-year, the outlook remains bright for Manchester’s office market and its investors,” said Rhys Evans, associate director at JLL.

“The flight to quality shows no signs of slowing and a healthy pipeline of deals awaiting completion will serve to make this years’ take up an interesting watch.”

He added: “Despite the wider economic headwinds, Manchester’s office market continues to show resilience in comparison to other regional markets.”

Outside of the city centre, Salford Quays and Old Trafford recorded a combined 52,600 sq ft of take-up across 16 deals, an 18% increase from Q4 2023.

The largest of these transactions were L&Q’s 18,000 sq ft letting at Nexus and PH Media’s 11,000 sq ft deal at Oakland House.

“It might have been a quieter start to 2024 but the regional markets remain robust, particularly within the Salford Quays and Old Trafford areas,” said Oliver Woodall, associate director at Edwards Property Consultants.

“As the city centre continues to go from strength to strength, we need to ensure that economic growth reaches every corner of Manchester with the office market playing a crucial role in delivering that.”

MOAF was formed in 2009, and members include Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards Property Consultants, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Fisher German, OBI, Savills, Sixteen, and TSG Property Consultants.

Figures on net absorption rate, which accounts for office take-up as well as space vacated, were not provided.

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