Market snapshot

Office Market Pulse Manchester Q4 2016

City Centre take-up increased dramatically in Q4 reaching 621,016 sq ft across 83 transactions. Large deals (above 15,000 sq ft) accounted for 10% of transactions in Q4. 

Demand for grade A space still outstrips supply with just 1,056,100 sq ft of new office space under construction/completed in 2016.

You can download a PDF version of this here Manchester Office Market Pulse

In this issue:

Steady activity across Manchester in Q4

City Centre office take-up for Q4 2016 reached 621,016 sq ft across 83 transactions, a 68.2% increase on the same quarter in 2015.  This was in line with expectations with take up during the same period in 2014/15 down by just 2.1% & 0.65% respectively. The total take-up for 2016 was 1,306,599 sq ft which is considerably higher than the five and ten year averages. 

A number of sizeable transactions occurred in Q4 including, 165,000 sq ft to Swinton Insurance at 101 The Embankment, 63,661 to MMU at 6 Great Marlborough Street, 45,456 sq ft to Co-op Digital at NOMA’s Federation House, 25,070 sq ft to Fanatics at Stubbs Mill and a further 39,155 sq ft of pre-lets completed across 4 deals at Allied London’s No.1 Spinningfields. Large deals (above 15,000 sq ft) accounted for 10% of transactions in Q4 which again is consistent with previously quarters and therefore reflecting that the churn is still apparent.

In the out of town markets, take-up in South Manchester reached 221,111 sq ft in Q4, bringing the 2016 total to 546,701 sq ft, which is in line with the 10 year average. In Salford Quays the total take-up for 2016 was lower than the previous year at 314,923 sq ft, but demand remains strong for grade A schemes such as Exchange Quay and the Tomorrow Building.  Warrington saw a 9.6% increase on the previous year’s take up, with a total of 370,168 sq ft transacted, 37% of which was within Birchwood Business Park.

Grade A supply continues to diminish

Demand for grade A space still outstrips supply with just 1,056,100 sq ft of new office space under construction/completed in 2016.

The commitment of Swinton Insurance in Q4 2016 to the entire 165,000 sq ft of 101 The Embankment will spur on the speculative development of 100 The Embankment and give confidence to 125 Deansgate and 2 New Bailey. Pre-lets will leave just 370,142 sq ft of newly constructed office space available, which equates to under 12 months’ grade A supply.

South Manchester grade A supply currently stands at 183,000 sq ft though a substantial new pre-let at Manchester Airport is expected and this location in particular will now dominate the South Manchester market in 2017.

Key occupational transactions, Q4 2016


Size (sq ft) 

Landlord(s)/ vendor


101 The Embankment 165,000 ASK Developments Swinton Insurance
6 Great Marlborough Street 63,661 Swinton Insurance MMU
Federation House 45,456  NOMA  Co-op Digital
1 Christie Fields 36,003 Simplyhealth Great Places Housing (purchaser)

Source: Lambert Smith Hampton 

Incentives favour landlords

The highest rent achieved this quarter was at Allied London’s grade A new build development; No.1 Spinningfields at £33.50 psf across four deals.

Due to the limited supply of grade A space, incentive packages remain low with an average of six months’ rent free being offered for a five-year lease.

The out-of-town markets peaked at £24.00psf at Worthington House, Towers Business Park. At Peel Media’s new grade A Tomorrow scheme, £20.00 psf was also achieved indicating that there is still strong demand for grade A space.

Manchester office investment activity

Despite a low level of deals in Q4, 2016 was a strong year for investment in the region.  

Total investment volume for Q4 2016 stood at £30.34 million. Total activity for the year was £525.28 million with the year being dominated by the big deals of 1 St Peters Square, 3&4 Piccadilly Place and XYZ Building. 

In the final quarter the deals of note were the acquisition of 81 Fountain Street by Aprirose for £21 million and CEG’s purchase of Altrincham Business Park for £6.815 million. Stock was an issue for the last quarter of 2016 and we expect this to continue in 2017 despite strong levels of demand.

Key investment transactions, Q4 2016


Value (£m) 



Fountain Street 21 Aprirose Kier Property
62 Bridge Street 1 Watch This Space Private

Source: Lambert Smith Hampton 

Want more information about this Snapshot?

Josh Levy
Josh Levy

0161 242 7061

Email me


Contact us now

Josh Levy
Director - Office Advisory

0161 242 7061

How can we help?