Largest-ever office deal masks quiet quarter for volume

Three Snowhill

The Birmingham office market was enduring a slow start to the year even before the coronavirus hit, new figures have revealed.

BT’s well-trailled deal for 283,000 sq ft at Three Snowhill opened 2020 with a bang, with the agreement officially dated January 1.

But this deal – the largest ever letting in a single building in the city – has had a distorting effect on the first-quarter figures.

Data compiled by the Birmingham Office Market Forum (BOMF) showed there were just 15 other deals for 55,900 sq ft of office space in the city centre. March 2020 delivered just one deal, for 1,300 sq ft.

However previous Q1 activity has seen a greater volume of deals. The last five years has seen an average of 28 deals, for 178,000 sq ft.

The first quarter of 2020 included five deals in Edgbaston, led by a 19,900 sq ft lease for 49 Calthorpe Road to Somerville House, and FIS taking 7,600 sq ft at Tricorn House. Elsewhere the only other deal above 4,000 sq ft was Reed’s 8,100 sq ft lease in No 1 Colmore Square.

In a statement, BOMF said: “The Q1, 2020 outcome represents a very positive start to the year and indeed is the highest Q1 take up recorded in the central Birmingham office market, with a strong pipeline of proposed transactions moving into Q2.”