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Are These The Last Decent Office Take-Up Figures Birmingham Will See In 2020?

One Chamberlain Square under construction

Remember the number 338,985 because you won’t be seeing one like it for a while.

That’s because 339K SF is the volume of floor space let in central Birmingham in the first quarter of 2020. If things go badly in the next nine months, and the economy takes the kind of hit many are predicting, it could be unpleasantly close to the 2020 total, despite the strong pipeline of deals expected for Q2.

Data from the Birmingham Office Market Forum shows 16 deals producing the highest Q1 total yet recorded. It easily trounces the 194K SF recorded in Q1 2019.

Yet the data contains warning signs. The volume of deals was sharply down: 16 deals were agreed, compared to 25 in Q1 2019. The average number of deals in the period 2014-2019 is 28.

The 339K SF figure itself conceals another story, with 283K SF accounted for by BT’s 1 January 2020 signing at M&G/Ballymore’s Three Snowhill. A relatively shallow market stood behind the BT transaction, a smattering of deals totalling 56K SF.

The Forum described the figures as “a very positive start to the year”. Whether that indicates cautious confidence, or blind optimism, remains to be seen.