The latest office take-up figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum show 208,200 sq ft was transacted in the city centre in the first quarter of this year, a slight increase on the same period in 2016.
From January to March, there were 73 deals, showing a 49% increase on the first quarter of last year. However, the size of these deals were smaller on average, reducing from 4,000 sq ft to 2,800 sq ft.
According to MOAF, there were seven transactions at more than 5,000 sq ft, and only two at more than 10,000 sq ft; Travel Jigsaw which took 22,196 sq ft at 40-42 Fountain Street, and specialist bank Aldermore’s 12,000 sq ft letting at 40 Spring Gardens.
Deals of less than 3,500 sq ft accounted for 81% of all city centre transactions, continuing the same trend seen in 2016.
In South Manchester, 140,000 sq ft of office space was transacted in Q1, a 57% increase on the corresponding first quarter for 2016. The largest letting was at Muse Development’s Stockport Exchange where 32,550 sq ft has been let.
The combined Salford Quays and Old Trafford take-up figure totalled 66,000 sq ft, which is a 30% increase on 2016. The largest letting was 21,500 sq ft at Broadway House, Salford.
Richard Dinsdale, associate director at Edwards & Co and MOAF spokesman, said: “After a strong finish to 2016, made up of some long awaited larger scale completions to the likes of Swinton, Kier, Co-op Digital, Fanatics and MMU to name but a few, sizeable transactions in 2017 have so far remained scarce, with Q1 being dominated by a volume of smaller scale requirements indicating an ongoing resilience within the SME sector. There are, however, some sizeable transactions which are due to complete during the second quarter of 2017, in particular a letting of 78,000 sq ft at Two St Peter’s Square to an undisclosed occupier, thus helping to bolster the 2017 half yearly take up.”
Steve Brittle, senior associate at Matthews & Goodman, said: “The Q1 figures for out of town office markets are encouraging and with the quantity of existing requirements in the marketplace, take up will improve somewhat during the remainder of 2017.”
Formed in 2009, MOAF members include, CBRE, Colliers, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, GVA, Hallams, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, TSG Property Consultants, WHR and BE Group.