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The Massive Manchester Property Number Nobody Noticed

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Circle Square Manchester Bruntwood
Circle Square, as it will look on completion

Does the number 2,886,775 mean anything to you?

Perhaps it should because 2,886,775 was the important number concealed in this week's announcement of record take-up in the city-centre office market.

The Manchester Office Agents Forum calculated that city centre take-up had risen to 1.75M SF, well above the previous record (set in 2014) of 1.3M SF.

But what they did not do was calculate the total for all of the city's main institutionally backed office markets. Add 1.75M SF from the city centre to 346K SF for Salford Quays/Trafford and another 790K SF for the south Manchester business parks and you get 2.89M SF.

For context, the entire Birmingham office market scored 754K SF, appreciably smaller than South Manchester.

Or put it another way, you can add up the take-up in the four Northern Powerhouse Cities (including Leeds at 663K SF, and yet-to-be-reported figures from Sheffield of 400K SF, Newcastle 200K SF and Liverpool 500K SF) and then add Birmingham, and then add Bristol at around 600K SF, and Manchester's office market would only then be meeting its match.

Lest Manchester property folk get carried away with success, it is worth pointing to one other, very sobering number: 13M SF, expected to be the baseline for take-up in the Central London office market in 2018.

So there is still a very long way to go.