The city enjoyed a record year of office take-up in 2018 with more than 1.75m sq ft taken over 314 transactions, surpassing the previous record of 1.33m sq ft set in 2014, according to the Manchester Office Agents Forum.
The total is comfortably above MOAF’s 10-year average, as the final quarter of 2018 saw 513,000 sq ft of deals, including Amazon confirming its long-rumoured 90,000 sq ft deal at Hanover House in Noma.
Other major deals confirmed in the last three months of the year include WeWork taking 76,000 sq ft at Dalton Place, and Manchester City Council taking 33,200 sq ft at City Road.
The largest deal of the year, and one of the largest in the last decade in Manchester, was Booking.com taking a 225,000 sq ft campus at Allied London’s Manchester Goods Yard, while Salford saw a substantial deal with HMRC taking a 157,000 sq ft pre-let on the English Cities Fund’s 3 New Bailey.
MOAF is predicting strong take-up in 2019, with a number of larger deals due to complete in the first half of the year. These are understood to include WeWork taking the entirety of the 51,000 sq ft Hyphen on Mosley Street, while the co-working operator is also under offer for four floors totalling 45,500 sq ft at the speculatively-developed 125 Deansgate.
Outside the city centre, Salford Quays and Old Trafford performed strongly with 92 transactions totalling nearly 350,000 sq ft, a 22% rise year-on-year.
Meanwhile, South Manchester – which includes some parts of North Cheshire, Sale, Altrincham, Stockport and Didsbury – saw 259 transactions, another record figure. Deals totalling 790,000 sq ft were agreed, with 18 of these over 10,000 sq ft – the largest was Royal London taking 157,000 sq ft at Alderley Park.
Harry Skinner, associate director at Avison Young said: “The performance of the market in 2018 clearly demonstrates that despite the backdrop of political uncertainty Manchester is going from strength to strength.
“The improved transport infrastructure, significant leisure offering, and vast University talent pool are all factors pulling occupiers towards Manchester over other regional cities. Proactive landlords and developers who have been willing to invest in buildings to provide a quality product have achieved success.”
Mark Cooke, associate director at Avison Young added: “The out of town markets have kept pace with the city centre posting exceptional results in 2018. We have seen strong rental growth, particularly in locations with good on-site amenities and public transport links.
“With large requirements such as The Hut Group close to concluding a deal on Phase 1 & 2 of their new HQ at Airport City, 2019 should be another strong year.”
MOAF is made up of Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman and Wakefield, Edwards and Co, GVA, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, and TSG Property Consultants.