MOAF: Manchester falls just short of 1m sq ft office take-up in 2023
Large transactions were elusive in the year Manchester recorded a new headline rent, according to figures compiled by the Manchester Office Agents Forum.
Manchester recorded 946,000 sq ft of deals during 2023, down from 1.2m sq ft in 2022.
The final outturn was lower than the five- and 10-year average figures for the city due to a shortage of chunky deals.
The 10 largest transactions completed in 2023 totalled 254,566 sq ft compared to 408,921 sq ft in 2022, MOAF said.
However, the forum is predicting a strong 2024, with several large requirements due to land this year.
The largest of the 221 deals signed in 2023 saw Arden University commit to 43,000 sq ft at 2 Hardman Street, as first revealed by Place North West.
Meanwhile, law firm Pinsent Mason was one of two law firms to sign pre-lets at Relentless and KKR’s St Michaels development. Pinsent’s 27,000 sq ft deal set a new headline rent for Manchester, smashing through the £40/sq ft ceiling by agreeing to pay £43/sq ft for its new office.
Hill Dickinson also agreed to take 18,192 sq ft in the same development.
The managed workspace market remained active during 2023; fast-growing Cubo signed for 30,829 sq ft at M&G’s Lincoln.
English Cities Fund’s recently completed Eden secured the largest deal of Q4 as BDO committed to 23,017 sq ft at the distinctive Salford asset.
“Manchester’s office market continued to perform robustly despite the global uncertainty and a diminishing lack of readily available Grade A supply,” said Rob Yates, head of office agency at Cushman & Wakefield and MOAF chairman.
“As we move into 2024, with a supply of new developments delivering high-quality office space to the market, we expect a strong start to the year with a number of high-profile transactions in the pipeline.”
Outside the city centre, take-up in Salford Quays and Old Trafford remained stable with 218,199 sq ft transacted across 72 deals compared to 277,802 sq ft the year before.
Meanwhile, South Manchester notched up 251 transactions totalling 547,195 sq ft, a significant increase on the 463,000 sq ft recorded in 2022.
The largest transaction saw Seda Pharma Developments take the 37,000 sq ft Lakehouse at Cheadle Royal.
Other notable transactions included Hurst Accountants talking 11,248 sq ft at the recently completed 3 Stockport Exchange.
Adam Robson, director at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “In totality, the out-of-town markets MOAF monitor, South Manchester, Salford Quays and Warrington transacted a total of 1m sq ft in 323 transactions demonstrating the vast extent and depth of the Greater Manchester office market.”
MOAF is made up of Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards Property Consultants, Fisher German, GVA, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, OBI, TSG, Savills, and Sixteen.