MOAF reports 61% rise in office take-up

David McCourt

Quarterly market figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum for the first three months of the year show an improvement in occupier activity compared to same period last year.

The figures show that both Greater Manchester and Warrington office markets experienced a significant increase in the levels of office take-up.

Take-up of offices in Manchester city centre in Q1 2013 totalled 274,800 sq ft, an increase of 61% compared with 169,891 sq ft in Q1 2012.

A total of 64 deals were recorded in the first quarter and whilst the number of transactions is only slightly higher than the same period last year, 61, MOAF's data shows that the average size of the deals has increased.

There were six transactions over 10,000 sq ft in Q1 2013 compared with three during the same period last year.

Key city centre office deals included Travel Jigsaw which took 63,000 sq ft of space at Sunlight House on Quay Street and the 22,000 sq ft letting to World Pay at 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfields.

According to MOAF, at the end of the first quarter city centre take-up is currently in line to exceed the 10-year average of 900,000 sq ft for the full year.

An increase in office take-up was also seen in other regional sub-markets monitored by MOAF.

In South Manchester, Q1 2013 take-up totalled 219,286 sq ft, an increase of 61% compared with 136,000 sq ft in Q1 2012.

The largest transaction in this sub-market was the 45,000 sq ft letting at Park Square in Cheadle to Jacobs.

The Salford Quays and Old Trafford markets saw a 4% increase in volumes, totalling 52,894 sq ft, compared to the same period last year.

The most notable increase in activity was reported in Warrington, which saw Q1 volumes improve by 120% to 93,129 sq ft, boosted by MWH which took 13,457 sq ft at Dominion House and United Utilities taking 10,681 sq ft at Lingley Mere.

Greg Ball, associate director at Jones Lang LaSalle, and spokesperson for MOAF, said: "Manchester experienced a strong finish at the end of last year and we have continued to see a healthy uptake in take-up in the first three months of 2013 demonstrating that demand for office space in Greater Manchester and Warrington remains high.

"Looking at the profile of occupiers, there is a good mix of inward investors, such as World Pay, as well as companies already based in the region that needed expansion space for growth, such as Jacobs. This activity points to improving sentiment and confidence amongst occupiers during what remains a challenging market."

The Manchester Office Agents Forum aims to promote better knowledge of the Manchester city region office market by providing statistics and commentary.

Formed in 2009, its current members include CBRE, Canning O'Neill, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ, Deloitte, Edwards & Co, GVA, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, P3 Property Consultants, Savills, TSG Property Consultants and WHR

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