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More Lawyers, More Serviced Offices, Less Government: A Fascinating Glimpse Into Manchester's Unique Office Market

One St Peter's Square, Manchester

The U.K.'s big regional office market's enjoyed a massive boost in 2017 from signings by the Government Property Unit: but not Manchester.

Research by GVA shows Manchester office take-up 24% above the five year average, even without the help of a big government deal.

Unique data on the Manchester office market also shows that the city has above-trend concentrations of lawyers and serviced office users.

Data from GVA shows public sector take-up in Manchester barely reached 10%, whilst it was on average over 25% across the Big Nine regional cities.

As revealed in GVA's Big Nine report, which analyses the office occupier markets of key U.K. regional cities, total take-up for the year amounted to over 10M SF for the first time.

Five GPU deals over the summer contributed to record levels of activity in Cardiff, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham city centres, with the latter two joining Manchester in achieving more than 1M SF of take-up.

GPU lettings formed part of public sector lettings comprising 28% of take-up overall activity. However, even without the deals with the GPU, city centre take-up was still 6% above the five year average.

“Manchester has yet again shown its resilience as it is one of the few cities that has not benefitted from a large GPU commitment," GVA Regional Senior Director Chris Cheap said. "Continued demand from an array of sectors completely underpins this performance and we anticipate this to continue in 2018 despite a squeeze on supply."

The blue bars represent Manchester office take-up in 2017, the red bars the average of the Big Nine regional office markets

The data also shows the large presence of retailers, service offices and lawyers in Manchester's office market, easily outstripping the Big Nine average.

Manchester is also over-represented in the telecommunications sector.

The data come as Deloitte publish its annual Crane Survey which reveals 11,135 residential units in development in Manchester city centre across 41 schemes, and 1.5M SF of office space under construction.

Twenty new residential schemes started construction on site in 2017, just two less than the record-breaking 22 schemes the previous year. The annual survey, now in its 17th iteration, reports a 60% increase in residential units under construction from the previous year. The 11,135 units currently being developed represents the third year of sustained growth for the region despite increasing uncertainty in the market as a result of Brexit negotiations and rising construction costs.

The 974K SF of office space delivered in 2017 represents an increase of 75% on 2016 figures, Deloitte said.

The hotel sector demonstrated a return to positive growth in room delivery following a minor slump after a year of peak delivery in 2015 (638 rooms). Hotel completions in the City Centre included easyHotel’s budget Bradley House (115 rooms), Motel One’s second opening on Cross Street (302 rooms) and StayCity in Gateway House (182 rooms).