MOAF: Manchester Q1 take-up tops 300,000 sq ft

Office agents expect take-up in the city centre market to top 1m sq ft for the sixth year running following a steady start to 2019.

The first quarter of the year saw 61 city centre transactions amounting to 314,733 sq ft let according to the figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum.

Although this figure is 26% lower than Q1 in 2018, that year’s number was boosted significantly by the 157,000 sq ft pre-let deal to HMRC at Three New Bailey, MOAF said. The largest transaction so far this year is the long-awaited 47,465 sq ft pre-let at Two New Bailey to law firm Eversheds Sutherland.

Other notable deals included co-working operator Huckletree taking 25,800 sq ft at the Express Building in what is its first Manchester operation, Knights Professional Services taking 16,272 sq ft at Two St Peter’s Square – having been close to signing at 101 Barbirolli Square in late 2018 – and taking the last significant space at No. 1 Spinningfields at £35 per sq ft, a new headline rent for the city.

Matt Pickersgill, senior surveyor in Lambert Smith Hampton’s office advisory team, said: “The pre-letting of 2 New Bailey continued the trend from 2018 and reflects the ongoing demand for grade A new-build options within the city centre.

“There remains a good level of unsatisfied requirements which are matched by a healthy pipeline of high quality refurbishments and new build opportunities, we therefore expect the city centre office market to remain resilient given the backdrop of uncertainty and reach 1m sq ft-plus for a sixth consecutive year.”

Take-up in the South Manchester market was slightly down on the previous quarter, at 138,774 sq ft. Highlights included lettings of 33,591 sq ft to Smart DCC at Concord Business Park and 18,708 sq ft to Landis & Gyr at Trident.

Salford Quays & Old Trafford got off to a relatively slow start with take-up reaching 54,368 sq ft in Q1, down on Q4 2018’s total of 78,489 sq ft. The largest letting was 11,364 sq ft to Capgemini at Venus.

Mark Bamber, partner at Knight Frank, said: “Take-up in the out of town market has remained relatively buoyant, led by the continued increased demand around Manchester Airport. We expect this level of demand to continue for the remainder of the year with further significant lettings in the pipeline.”

MOAF members include: Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, Hallams Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, and TSG Property Consultants.

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