Two Hardman Street, Spinningfields, p.PNW

The largest deal of the year saw Arden University take 42,000 sq ft at Two Hardman Street. Credit: Place North West

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. 

Eden, ECF, c Simon Buckley

BDO’s commitment to Eden was the largest deal of Q4. Credit: Simon Buckley

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. 

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Not much inward investment though

By Dan

Take up at the end of Q3 was 721k, end of Q4 was 946k, so a thin final quarter to a thin 2023 for the city centre. Can’t see the pace quickening.

By Anonymous

Surprisingly good in the challenging circumstances.


I did warn you that the office is dead

By Gilly

Lot of investment considering. But then there always is in Manchester.


Not surprising given the length of time property transactions are taking to complete. A sizeable Q1 2024 due to Q4 slippage I hear…..

By Electrifier

The office market is alive and well, naysayers like Dan & Anonymous don’t know what they are talking about! Leave it to the developers/agents to keep the wheels turning…

By Bish

Decent. Nothing like investment to keep a city growing.

By Anonymous

How can Manchester cope with any more office workers? Rush hour trams are full, trains are cancelled all the time and traffic is at a standstill thanks to road closures, it doesn’t work.

By Planner

And yet again Gilly your doommongering is wrong. Must pay attention.

By Anonymous

I agree this is a good result when not viewed through the lens of perma misery that the usual suspects like to view the world through.

By Mel Atonin

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