Flight to quality continues in robust GM office sector

Landmark building

A total of 50 office deals were completed across Greater Manchester in the first quarter of the year, highlighting the robust nature of the sector.

New analysis by the Manchester Office Agency Forum (MOAF) shows a total of 172,782 sq ft of office space was transacted in Q1 2024, down on the 205,397 sq ft completed in Q1 2023.

Professional services firm JLL, however, expects the number of transactions to increase this year as demand for quality space intensifies.

Law firm DAC Beachcroft’s take up of 13,228 sq ft at the city centre’s Landmark building was identified as one of the most notable transactions completed so far this year. Atkins, an engineering firm, also took 38,138 sq ft in Longmead’s 3 Piccadilly Place.

The deals, alongside prospective ones identified by JLL, indicate a significant flight to quality and demand for fitted spaces.

The number of fitted space deals was more than double the amount completed over the same period last year.

Salford Quays and Old Trafford emerged as some of the city’s strongest performing areas, with the data showing 52,622 sq ft was transacted across 16 deals.

The largest of these was London & Quadrant Housing’s letting of 18,043 sq ft at Nexus, followed by 11,000 sq ft to PH Media at Oakland House.

The two areas combined witnessed an 18% increase on figures in sq ft from Q4 2023 and a 41% increase on Q3 2023.

Rhys Evans, Associate Director at JLL, said: “While floorspace let shows a slight decline year-on-year, the outlook remains bright for Manchester’s office market and its investors.

“The flight to quality shows no signs of slowing and a healthy pipeline of deals awaiting completion will serve to make this year’s take-up an interesting watch. Despite the wider economic headwinds, Manchester’s office market continues to show resilience in comparison to other regional markets.”

Oliver Woodall, Associate Director at property consultancy Edwards, said: “It might have been a quieter start to 2024 but the regional markets remain robust, particular within the Salford Quays and Old Trafford areas.

“As the city centre continues to go from strength to strength, we need to ensure that economic growth reaches every corner of Manchester with the office market playing a crucial role in delivering that.”

MOAF was formed in 2009, and members include: Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen, and TSG Property Consultants.

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