According to Manchester Office Agents Forum, 317,627 sq ft of office take-up was recorded during the first quarter of this year, a 47.6% increase on 215,136 sq ft in the previous three months, taking available new office space in the city centre to its lowest point for 10 years.
MOAF said that it saw the highest quarterly city centre office take-up since 2010, meaning that Manchester now has only 498,876 sq ft of available Grade A office space. With a number of deals yet to complete, this could nearly halve in the next two quarters.
The start of the year saw a number of eagerly anticipated transactions come to fruition, including Barclays Bank acquiring 81,603 sq ft at Carlyle's 4 Piccadilly Place, and Trader Media letting 60,216 sq ft at Ask Developments No. 1 First Street. The MOAF figures show that Manchester's SME community continues to underpin activity with a further 69 city centre lettings recorded during the course of the first three months of the year.
In south Manchester, take-up in the first quarter stood at 74,018 sq ft, down from the 139,492 sq ft recorded in Q4 2013. Salford Quays also recorded a slow start to 2014 with 36,192 sq ft of office transactions, down from the 48,134 sq ft seen in the last quarter of 2013.
Richard Lowe, associate director at Savills and spokesperson for MOAF, said: "Manchester city centre has experienced an excellent volume of transactions during Q1 2014 and recent lettings to companies such as Trader Media and Barclays Bank continue to erode the limited available Grade A accommodation in the city.
"With a number of further large Grade A transactions set to complete later this year we expect to see continued rental growth combined with a decrease in rental incentives."
Formed in 2009, MOAF members include CBRE, Canning O'Neill, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ, Deloitte, Edwards & Co, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, TSG Property Consultants and WHR.