Quarterly review of take-up in the major regional office occupier markets in the UK.
Total take-up across the Big Nine office markets (Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle) amounted to 1.96 million sq ft in Q1 2020, 8% below the quarterly average.
Several large deals were agreed in Q1, headlined by BT’s 283,000 sq ft letting at Three Snowhill in Birmingham and supported by 90,500 sq ft to the Scottish Government in Glasgow and 74,000 sq ft to Osborne Clarke in Bristol. However, the overall number of transactions was down on average by 20%, with activity skewed towards the larger deals, and activity unsurprisingly slowing towards the end of the quarter.
Nevertheless, the strong fundamentals in many of the markets will likely provide an element of resilience during the current pandemic. Vacancy rates are low and half of the current stock under construction is pre-let. Prime rents increased across four of the Big Nine cities during Q1, leading to a record average rent to £31.61psf, up 4% on a year ago.