Agents stay optimistic as office market take-up slumps in lockdown

The DWP has taken nearly 49,000 sq ft in B1

The Birmingham office market was unsurprisingly subdued in the last quarter, recording the lowest level of take-up in more than a decade.

Just five deals were agreed for a total 61,474 sq ft, with the two largest lettings to Government departments, data from the Birmingham Office Market Forum (BOMF) has revealed.

However agents in the city remain optimistic despite speculation about the pandemic bringing about the end of the office.

BOMF said: “Most of the active requirements that existed coming into the quarter went on hold, albeit with many of the occupiers stating their intentions to still proceed in some form after the return to a more normal environment.

“The early signs post the easing of lockdown are positive inasmuch that such occupiers are now largely actively reconsidering their requirements, with a view to resuming acquisitions as the year progresses.”

The quarter’s figures were dominated by the 48,787 sq ft letting to the DWP at the B1 development, while the Ministry of Justice took 5,249 sq ft.

The BT deal for 283,073 sq ft at Three Snowhill in January accounted for 70% of the floor space taken in the first half of 2020. There have been just five other deals for more than 5,000 sq ft.

BOMF added: “The entire office market was effectively stopped by the pandemic lockdown throughout the quarter, with offices closed, viewings prevented and transactions impossible to progress.”