Manchester

During the first quarter of 2022 take-up in Manchester city centre totalled just 206,763 sq ft. Whilst this may well be a hangover from the frenetic end to 2021 it is reflective of a quiet time in the market as occupiers continue to wrestle with occupational needs and macro-economic influences. This, to an extent reflects the position of 12 months ago where just 234,000 sq ft was transacted over the quarter and there are sufficient market signals to suggest that take up will gather momentum as the year progresses.

The TMT & Creative sector was the most active of the quarter accounting for 33% of take-up across 4 deals. Telcom leased 11,514 sq ft at Northstar, Thoughtworks signed for 8,489 sq ft at Federation and Gameys leased 5,670 sq ft at 60 Spring Gardens. The Professional Services and Consumer & private services were also significant sources of demand accounting for 20% and 18% of take-up, respectively.

There continues to be clear evidence of both public and private sector occupiers looking to locate into central Manchester to gain exposure to Manchester’s deep labour pool. As occupiers rationalise their occupational footprint, they are focusing on best-in-class workspace assets in order to attract their workforce back to the office. This flight to quality is further evidenced by 27% of the number of transactions in 2021 achieving in excess of £30.00 per sq ft in comparison to 11% in 2020 and 9% in 2019.

Availability has shown little change since the end of 2021 however it is currently 39% below the five-year average level totalling 3.6 million sq ft. the vacancy rate has reduced slightly moving from 11.2% at the end of Q4 2021 to 11.0% at the end of Q1 2022.

During Q1, Island on John Dalton Street began on site the speculative development will provide Manchester city centre with an additional 110,000 sq ft of Grade A office space. The development, which is a joint venture between HBD and Greater Manchester Pension Fund plans to be net zero carbon with an EPC A, BREEAM Excellent and 5.5-star carbon NABERS rating. There is now over 570,000 sq ft of office development under construction in Manchester city centre, of which 31% has been pre-let.

Prime rent in Manchester remains at £38.50 with rent free periods at 24 months on a ten-year term. The ‘Lincoln’ is currently quoting rents of £42 per sq ft and 11 York Street is quoting between £38.50 per sq ft and £40.00 per sq ft and it is believed there is reasonable interest at these levels across both buildings. Quoting rents for prime Grade A workspace in the city range from £36.50 - £42.00 per sq ft. We expect £40.00 per sq ft will be achieved in 2022. Rents for good quality refurbished space have sustained and we have not seen discounting from landlords to secure transactional commitment. Cost remains a significant driver for occupiers but not the most important with quality of space and staff/visitor experience being fundamental as workspace plays its role in recruiting and retaining employees as well as supporting and encouraging the ongoing return to the office.

In the out-of-town market, take-up was also limited totalling 190,851 sq ft. Key deals in the market included Thrive which leased 11,217 sq ft at The Parks, Haydock, Wain Group which signed for 7,170 sq ft at Trident Business Park and ITS Technology that agreed to 7,019 sq ft at Daresbury Park.

TAKE UP: Q1 2022

City Centre

206,763 sq ft

Out of Town

190,851 sq ft

HEADLINE RENT

City Centre

£38.50 per sq ft

Out of Town

£24 per sq ft

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Total

573,000 sq ft

Prelet

31%

PRIME YIELD

Q1 2022

4.75%

TOP FIVE DEALS: Q1 2022

KEY SECTOR ACTIVITY: 12 MONTHS TO Q1 2022

TMT & creative

36%

Professional services

17%

Business services

14%

TAKE-UP

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