GVA: Office take-up increases in Liverpool and Manchester

City centre office take-up in Manchester was 156,803 sq ft in the third quarter of the year and 119,702 sq ft in Liverpool, according to research by GVA.

Within the latest GVA Big Nine report, it said Liverpool was boosted by recording the largest letting in Q3 with the 94,000 sq ft letting at the Plaza to Weightmans Solicitors.

GVA said Manchester's city centre market continues to operate on a two tier basis with a healthy supply of good quality refurbished space creating some downward pressure on rents as landlords fight for limited demand. However, it said better quality product in better locations continues to transact well.

The report said city centre take-up in the UK totalled 1.12m sq ft in Q3, 10% above the quarterly average.

Headline rents and lease incentives have remained fairly static this year with city centre rents varying between £29.50/sq ft in Manchester to £21/sq ft in Liverpool.

Take up in the out of town market in Manchester was 184,043 sq ft in Q3 and 29,350 sq ft in Liverpool.

Headline rents vary between £21/sq ft in Bristol to £14/sq ft in Liverpool. According to the report, Manchester achieved two of the top five out of town deals with Simon Carves Engineering taking 33,567 sq ft at Atlas Business Park and Shell UK taking 30,500 sq ft at Concord Business Park.

Chris Cheap, director at GVA, said: "It is encouraging to see a further increase in take up levels for the UK regional markets and specifically Manchester and Liverpool. With pending transactions in both cities we anticipate this trend will continue into the final quarter of the year. However, any air of optimism should be tempered as wider economic uncertainty is still clearly affecting occupier confidence with the quantum of transactions and overall figures lower than the 5-year average.

"Accepting that some caution is required it is still clearly evident that some significant deals have taken place in the last three months with the Weightmans transaction in Liverpool underpinning the year's overall figures and South Manchester seeing major lettings to the likes of Shell UK and Simon Carves Engineering who were drawn to the value for money product in the market place. Our major regional cities and principal decentralised locations continue to keep pace with the rest of the UK and show robustness even in the most difficult of trading conditions."

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