The Manchester office market enjoyed its best year on record, with a spate of big deals in the final quarter of 2018 taking the city’s numbers to new heights.
Office take-up in Manchester totalled over 1.75 million sq ft, spread over 314 transactions according to the Manchester Office Agent’s Forum (MOAF). That’s comfortably more than the 1.2m sq ft of office space snapped up in 2017, and easily beats the previous record of 1.3m set in 2014.
Booking.com head the list of big deals
The year’s largest deal saw Booking.com snap up 225,000 sq ft at Manchester Goods Yard, while HMRC’s move to a 157,000 sq ft space at 3 New Bailey Square was next on the list. But the final three months of 2018 saw several eye-catching agreements struck, led by Amazon taking just over 89,000 sq ft at Hanover House, between Victoria Station and Shudehill. It’s the tech giant’s first UK corporate office outside London and could host as many as 600 roles over six floors.
Flexible office space provider WeWork took a third property in Manchester when opting for 76,000 sq ft at Dalton Square, while Manchester City Council’s move to 33,000 sq ft of offices on City Road also came in as the year drew to a close.
There was also a strong performance on Salford Quays and Old Trafford, with a 22% rise on 2017. The latter stages of the year also saw TalkTalk announce they were moving their headquarters to fill out the Soapworks building they moved some staff to in 2017.
MOAF predicts that 2019 could match 2018, with several prestigious office in the city centre available, including 125 Deansgate and Barings’ Landmark building at St Peter’s Square.
Manchester’s pulling power
Harry Skinner, associate director at Avison Young, said: “The performance of the market in 2018 clearly demonstrates that despite the backdrop of political uncertainty Manchester is going from strength to strength.
“The improved transport infrastructure, significant leisure offering, and vast University talent pool are all factors pulling occupiers towards Manchester over other regional cities. Proactive landlords and developers who have been willing to invest in buildings to provide a quality product have achieved success.”
The numbers tally with a sense of good times for the city’s economy, with spin-offs for the property market. EY have predicted that employment in the city will grow by 1.2% from 2018 to 2021, and house prices have grown in five out of the last six years. The city’s name as a place to invest is spreading globally – interest in Manchester from Chinese investors was up by 200% according to a report in late summer.
MOAF members include Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, GVA, Hallams Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, and TSG Property Consultants.