MOAF: Manchester take-up will hit 1m sq ft by year end

Total city centre office take-up for the year so far amounts to 968,338 sq ft according to data from the Manchester Office Agents Forum, already exceeding the annual total for 2013 by 11%.

Year-end market activity for the city centre is expected to exceed 1m sq ft for the first time since 2010, which MOAF said highlights the increasing confidence of occupiers as economic recovery continues.

Total take-up for Q3 was 171,824 sq ft, down from the 482,640 sq ft recorded in the second quarter, which was dominated by significant prime office transactions such as Slater & Gordon's acquisition of 105,000 sq ft at 58 Mosley Street and Towergate Insurance's lease of 34,775 sq ft at 3 Hardman Square.

Figures for Q3 were 31,514 sq ft less than the same period in 2013. The most notable deal was the sale of 13,000 sq ft in Lancaster Buildings in Deansgate for the new home of BCL Legal.

Occupier activity in Salford Quays declined in the third quarter with 20,000 sq ft less space transacted than in the third quarter of last year. With aggregate Q3 take-up amounting to 102,873 sq ft at the end of September, the annual average of 115,000 sq ft is likely to be passed by year end.

A marginal increase in letting activity was witnessed in the South Manchester market with a quarterly take-up of 176,736 sq ft. The freehold purchase of Renaissance Court, Christie Fields was the most notable deal with Contour Housing acquiring the 23,582 sq ft self-contained building.

More than 83,000 sq ft of offices were transacted in the third quarter across Warrington town centre and the Birchwood market, approximately 42% less than in the same period last year. Despite this quarterly reduction, outstanding lease completions are predicted to result in increased activity in the final quarter of the year.

Adam Jackson, associate director at Lambert Smith Hampton and spokesman for MOAF, said: "Occupier confidence continues to strengthen and the leasing advisors of the North West are noting that more businesses are expanding. With the recruitment of additional staff comes the need for extra office space.

"Despite quarterly fluctuations, the occupational office markets across Greater Manchester are set to exceed long-term annual averages this year as witnessed already in the city centre."

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