MOAF remains bullish as take-up edges towards 1m sq ft

The Manchester Office Agents Forum said it expects city centre office take-up for the year to hit the 1m sq ft mark, as it reported 686,172 sq ft in the first three quarters of 2016. The total volume of space transacted in this period is 35% lower than that for the same period in 2015. Over the course of last year, more than 1.3m sq ft was let in total.

The much talked-of 81,000 sq ft letting to law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer at One New Bailey was the key factor in the third quarter being 2016’s most fruitful quarter yet in the central market, said MOAF.

Salford Quays also had its best quarter of the year so far, with the highlight being the AJ Bell deal at Exchange Quay, in which the online pensions manager leased the whole of the 93,756 sq ft No. 4 building. Four deals were completed at Exchange Quay in this quarter alone as Hunter Real Estate’s £10m refurbishment programme continued to pay off.

South Manchester take-up reached 370,540 sq ft, a decrease of 18% on 2015. Warrington’s take-up climbed to 240,596 sq ft, slightly ahead of last year’s 226,821 sq ft.

Mark Bamber, associate at Knight Frank, said: “Although take-up is down on the record levels witnessed in the last two years, it has held up well post-Brexit, shown by the large deals with Freshfields and AJ Bell.

“Swinton’s acquisition of 101 Embankment will see a further improvement in take-up which we expect to top 1m sq ft. And with a number of large requirements still to be satisfied, we expect 2017 to get off to a positive start.”

Formed in 2009, MOAF members include CBRE, Colliers, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, Bilfinger GVA, JLL, Lambert Smith Hampton, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, TSG Property Consultants, WHR Property Consultants and BE Group.

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