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Rise in take-up of central Manchester office space amid ‘strong demand’

Central Manchester’s office market is seeing “strong levels of demand” from existing occupiers and inward investors as take-up is rising.

According to new figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF), take-up figures have grown by 27% in Q2 of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

The data also shows positive performance throughout the whole first half of this year, as a total take-up of 492,730 sq ft demonstrates a 17% increase on the first half of 2016.

Between April and June 2017 there were 68 city centre deals – five of which were over 10,000 sq ft including city centre occupiers Kaplan and CarFinance247 relocating to Universal Square, and Weightmans at No 1 Spinningfields.

Investor lettings to WeWork and Distrelec are also said to have boosted the figures.

Andrew Rands, associate director at JLL and MOAF spokesman, says: “We continue to see strong levels of demand across Manchester City Centre from both existing occupiers and inward investors.

“The letting to WeWork at 1 Spinningfields, its first operation in the UK outside of London, and to Distrelec at 2 St Peters Square, which is its first operation in the UK, are a significant statement for the Manchester market.

“Looking forward, there are a number of potential larger transactions in the pipeline which suggest total take up for 2017 will exceed 1M sq ft for the fourth consecutive year.”

Meanwhile South Manchester figures show 192,000sq ft of office space was transacted in Q2 this year, which is 38% above the take-up level in Q1.

The largest letting was at Pacific House where Vodafone took 33,567 sq ft.

Larger freehold transactions at healthy values are also said to have returned to the market, with the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham sold to Lookers Plc.

Also in Manchester’s out-of-town office markets, the combined Salford Quays take-up figure for Q2 is 84,000 sq ft, which MOAF says reflects diminishing stock levels as commercial buildings continue to be converted for residential use.

MOAF members include JLL, CBRE, Colliers, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, GVA, Hallams, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, TSG Property Consultants, WHR and BE Group.