CBRE: Manchester outperforms rival cities

David McCourt

Manchester was the only one of eight regional centres covered in a new research report to record prime office rental growth in 2012, rising from £29.50/sq ft to £30/sq ft.

The other seven cities studied were Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Southampton.

The report predicts prime office rent for the regional office markets in the UK through to the end of 2017.

CBRE predicts the UK economy will register modest GDP growth in 2013 in the region of 1-1.5%.

Employment growth in office-based sectors is expected to be strongest in Manchester at an annualised rate of 2.2%.

CBRE expects Manchester to be the only one of the eight regional markets covered to record prime office rental growth in 2012. Manchester has outperformed the other markets since the downturn and is expected to do so again in 2013.

Liverpool's forecast is slightly more subdued. Although CBRE expect the size of the office based workforce to increase from 2014, it will not be at the same pace as some of the other cities – a growth of 1.5% compared to 2.2% in Manchester and Leeds.

Collective growth across all eight cities of 14% is expected for professional, scientific and technical services employment over five years. Manchester is one of the cities expected to see the strongest growth from this sector.

Over the next five years, information and communication employment is forecast to grow by 7.4%, compared to just 1.5% within financial services in Greater Manchester. The region is already seeing the benefit of this switch since the arrival of the BBC in Media City, but also via other initiatives such as The Sharp Project and Project Digital.

John Ogden, managing director of CBRE North West, said: "This report demonstrates that Manchester is not only continuing to thrive during these challenging economic times but that it is actually outperforming all the other regions within the UK outside of London.

"As the only region to record prime office rental growth in 2012 – and every year since the downturn – the projected increase in pre-lets from 2013 should provide the catalyst for Grade A rental levels to reach a headline of £32.75/sq ft by 2017."

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