More money was invested in Manchester property during the first quarter of 2013 than in the whole of 2012, paving the way for a bumper year for overseas investment in the city.
Figures released by property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle contrast the Co-operative Group's £142m sale of One Angel Square to the RREEF and Gingko Tree joint venture in February with the £128m of total direct investment recorded by the real estate advisors in 2012.
With the recent sale of Bauhaus – acquired by Orchard Street for an undisclosed sum in May – and a £40m deal at 100 Barbirolli Square expected to complete early in the third quarter, JLL says that the city could easily pass the £200m mark.
The team predicts that 2013 could be the strongest ever for overseas investment into the Manchester market, with further foreign investors expected to join RREEF and Gingko Tree before the year is over.
Foreign investors are once again on course to outstrip domestic purchasers in Manchester, as they did in 2012 with £102m against £26m from UK purchasers.
In 2011, a year which saw a total of £290m transacted in Manchester, overseas investment was £125m against £165m from domestic sources.
Despite the strong start to this year, JLL suggests that Manchester may not beat the 2011 total, citing a lack of supply of quality office stock following a string of major transactions.
James Porteous, a director with JLL's capital markets team, said: "Since January, Manchester's market has really turned a corner following what was a much flatter year in 2012 than many had expected after a relatively strong 2011.
"As London's market has become more and more competitive, investors chasing reasonable returns are increasingly looking to Manchester, with its strong and stable occupier market, as a safe bet.
"In the major deals we have led this year, including Bauhaus, the competition has already intensified with multiple bids driving final deals above initial asking prices.
"However, with fewer assets likely to be available in the second half of 2013 it's likely that we'll see the volume of transactions begin to run out of steam."