Latest figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum have recorded 484,354 sq ft of take-up in the second quarter of 2014, the highest activity since 2007.
The total is more than double that transacted in the same period in 2013, at 194,235 sq ft.
Take-up for the half year is at 801,513 sq ft, already close to 2013's annual figure of 869,180 sq ft.
A number of significant prime office transactions were recorded from April to June, including Slater & Gordon's acquisition of 105,000 sq ft at 58 Mosley Street. Towergate Insurance took 34,775 sq ft at 3 Hardman Square, while Number One First Street continued to attract new occupiers with the arrival of Ford Capital who took 24,753 sq ft, following Trader Media who relocated there earlier this year.
Limited supply of prime office accommodation in Manchester city centre continued to be an issue, with One St Peters Square the only speculative development due to complete this year bringing 200,000 sq ft to the market.
The lack of supply is a driver behind the start of the next cycle of speculative development and construction, according to MOAF. Work is now underway at Allied London's Cotton Building in Spinningfields, which will provide 148,100 sq ft of new workspace. Muse Developments' One New Bailey in Salford and Tristan Capital's partnership with Ask Developments on 101 Greengate will deliver 125,000 sq ft and 170,000 sq ft respectively and are due to commence later this year. All three buildings are due to complete in 2016.
Emma Powell, surveyor at OBI Property and MOAF spokesman said: "Manchester city centre has experienced a remarkable last quarter. This reflects the overall sentiment in the economy which continues to improve as the recovery gathers pace. Not only were the size of the lettings on the up but so were the number of transactions."
After a subdued start to the year South Manchester showed some signs of improvement with Q2 take up totalling 171,795 sq ft, up from 74,018 sq ft in Q1 2014. Manchester Business Park saw the two most significant lettings to Emirates and Costain at 23,543 sq ft and 38,507 sq ft respectively.
The amount of space let at Salford Quays and Old Trafford totalled 103,758 sq ft, compared to 37,528 sq ft in the first quarter. Peel's MediaCity UK contributed the most significant volume of take up with the largest transaction being completed to serviced office provider Orega, who took 24,612 sq ft in the Blue building at a rent of £22/sq ft.
Formed in 2009, MOAF members include OBI Property, CBRE, Canning O'Neill, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ, Deloitte, Edwards & Co, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Matthews & Goodman, Savills, TSG Property Consultants and WHR.