Office take-up in Manchester city centre was significantly down in the first half of 2009 compared to the second half of 2008 but pipeline figures for the remainder of the year are encouraging, according to CB Richard Ellis.
CBRE said 247,000 sq ft of deals have been secured since January. The second half of the year promises to be stronger, with a further 300,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation already under offer and a further 200,000 sq ft expected to commit before the end of the year.
This takes the forecast for total take-up for 2009 to around 750,000 sq ft, compared to a five-year average of 836,200 sq ft.
Will Kennon, senior surveyor at CBRE, commented: "The significant reduction in take-up can be attributed to the wider economic problems but it's also important to remember that a very healthy number of lettings are still in the pipeline and due to complete in the next couple of months.
"Indeed, Manchester is demonstrating robust characteristics in terms of office demand thanks to a mixture of public and private sector requirements from the likes of Manchester City Council (140,000 sq ft), the Strategic Health Authority (60,000 sq ft) and Beachcroft Solicitors LLP (25,000 sq ft).
"Office supply in Manchester is currently higher than it has been over the past five years with 665,000 sq ft of new build Grade A office space available for immediate occupation and a further 300,000 sq ft of uncommitted accommodation due for completion by Q4 2009. It is therefore encouraging that 300,000 sq ft of Grade A accommodation is already under offer. Having experienced a prolonged period of undersupply, tenants now have an array of options on large floor plate and small floor plate buildings to suite individual requirements."