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Manchester City Centre Occupier Activity Increases

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Manchester Office Agents Forum has confirmed that the take up for the first quarter of 2017 finished at 208,233 sq ft, displaying a modest increase of 6% on last year’s first quarter. Occupier activity was also on the rise with Q1 boasting a total of 73 transactions showing a 49% increase on Q1 2016.

Whilst there was an increase in occupier activity in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 last year, the average deal size had reduced from 4,017 sq ft to 2,853 sq ft. This was predominantly due to a shortage of larger transactions, with just 7 transactions in excess of 5,000 sq ft, of which only two of these accounted for deals in excess of 10,000 sq ft, namely Travel Jigsaw at 40-42 Fountain Street (22,196 sq ft) and Aldermore at 40 Spring Gardens (12,088 sq ft).

Continuing the trend from previous years, the take up consisted of predominantly smaller scale transactions, with deals of sub 3,500 sq ft accounting for 81% of all city centre transactions and deals of sub 5,000 sq ft accounting for 89%, therefore following on in a similar fashion to 2016.

Richard Dinsdale Associate Director at Edwards & Co and MOAF spokesperson commented “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.”

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 new build Grade A building at Stockport Exchange where 32,550 sq ft has been let.

The combined Salford Quays and Old Trafford Q1 take up figure extended to 66,000 sq ft, which is a 30% increase on the 2016 figure. The largest letting was 21,500 sq ft at Broadway House, Salford.

Steve Brittle, Senior Associate at Matthews & Goodman and MOAF spokesperson 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.