LSH: SMEs driving Manchester office market

Simon Donohue

The Manchester office market is being driven by SMEs, according to the latest research from commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton.

The firm's Manchester Office Market Pulse report says city centre take-up fell by 29% in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the first, with smaller transactions below 5,000 sq ft dominating the market.

However, take-up overall increased by 49% year-on-year in the six months to June.

Adam Jackson, office agent at LSH in Manchester, said: "57 of the 64 city centre office transactions completed during Q2 were SMEs acquiring workspace of 5,000 sq ft or less.

"It's clear that SMEs are essential to the city centre market with 89% of leasing activity originating from these businesses.

"Strong demand from SMEs is encouraging, but equally so is the increase in requirements from larger corporates looking to accommodate staff numbers of 150 or more.

"Crucially this occupier interest is not just driven by businesses already based in Manchester, but national corporates looking to relocate or set up in the city and wider region.

"If current occupier interest is sustained into 2014, Grade A accommodation from the last development cycle is set to be eroded, tipping the supply and demand balance in favour of pre-let activity in Manchester's better positioned and consented developments."

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This is hardly surprising as SME’s make up at least 59% of all employment, and are, by definition, the most likely to grow.

By Percy Jackson

Suspect LSH will be a SME soon.

By Sugar