MOAF - Manchester Office Market - Q1 2021

Manchester office take up has declined during the first quarter of 2021, against a backdrop of challenging market conditions.

Total office take-up in Q1 reached 234,258 sq ft, down from 349,513 sq ft in Q4 2020, and 306,000 sq ft year-on-year.

Despite these figures, the market is maintaining gradual momentum as real estate and the general economy recovers from the pandemic.

Notable city centre transactions in Q1 2021 included:

  • Ministry of Justice, The Redfern Building (24,548 sq ft)
  • Orega, Awkwright House (29,864 sq ft)
  • Brabners, 100 Barbirolli (20,239 sq ft)

South Manchester was the best-performing office market, with take-up totalling 92,797 sq ft. 94,838 sq ft was recorded in Q4 2020 and 39,174 sq ft in Q3 2020.

Salford Quays also performed well, with 66,877 sq ft of space taken, an increase from 52,626 sq ft in Q4 2020.

Despite a challenging 2020 in which total office take-up fell below 1m sq ft for the first time since 2013 (800,000 sq ft) there was a surge in activity during the final three months of the year as deals exceeded 350,000 sq ft - up from 69,000 sq ft in the previous quarter.

  • The drop in Q1 2021 can be attributed to general negativity surrounding the third lockdown 
  • There has been a notable increase in viewing activity over the past month
  • Sustainability, wellbeing and flexibility are now paramount for occupiers
  • Historic larger requirements in the market are reemerging, albeit with reduced sizes, but renewed certainty around the type of space required
  • There is an increasing "flight to quality" among occupiers - space which enables innovation, collaboration and an improved user experience for staff and clients.

This research is compiled by MOAF (Manchester Office Agent's Forum). Formed in 2009, MOAF members include Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, GVA, Hallams Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, and TSG Property Consultants.

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