Office take-up in Liverpool reached more than 90,000 sq ft in the first quarter of 2016, according to Bilfinger GVA’s Big Nine report, which analyses office activity in the largest regional cities.
Manchester experienced a slower than expected start to the year, but a series of significant pending deals are expected to strengthen Q2 figures, said Bilfinger GVA.
Take-up in the first quarter in Liverpool exceeded the five-year quarterly average of 80,000 sq ft, with a number of deals completed which included 26,000 sq ft of lettings at Walker House in Exchange Flags, 11,500 sq ft of which was to Brookes Bell. At Mann Island, Seadrill acquired an additional floor of 10,890 sq ft.
This follows two consecutive quarters of Liverpool office take-up exceeding 100,000 sq ft.
In Manchester city centre, take up was slightly below the five-year quarterly average at 196,533 sq ft of lettings for the first quarter. Key deals completed included Squire Patton Boggs at 28,000 sq ft at 1 Spinningfields, Kacoo Fashion with 25,000 sq ft at Fabrica, and Arup taking 16,000 sq ft at 4 Piccadilly Place.
The slower than predicted start to the year for the Manchester market is attributed to law firm Freshfields’ anticipated 80,000 sq ft commitment at English Cities Fund’s One New Bailey, not completing before the end of the quarter as initially hoped.
Ian Steele, director at Bilfinger GVA Liverpool, said: “It’s been another strong quarter in Liverpool and there continues to be a healthy pipeline of new occupier requirements and an increase in transactional activity which should ensure that take-up levels remain high.
“However, the main issue is that the city is faced with a diminishing supply of good quality office space and no immediate development pipeline. Liverpool now has less than a year’s worth of Grade A supply and with no new office development schemes currently on site, it will be 2018 at the earliest before we see new space delivered into the market. This is likely to have a detrimental effect on take-up levels and transactional activity over the next few years as both inward investment requirements and existing occupiers will be faced with limited options when considering relocation.”
Overall city centre and out of town take-up across the country amounted to 2.3m sq ft, 13% above the five-year quarterly average. City centre total take-up comprised 1.47m sq ft, 17% above the five-year quarterly average. Out of town total take-up amounted to 0.86m sq ft, 7% above the five-year quarterly average.