Office take-up across the Big Nine markets in 2016 reached the highest level during Q4, according to GVA’s latest Big Nine Report. Activity was underpinned by three large city centre headline deals including Hugh James Solicitors in Cardiff, alongside Swinton Insurance in Manchester and HMRC in Bristol.
Total city centre take-up in Q4 across the nine cities studied in the report, reached 1.67 million sq ft, 30% up on the five year quarterly average and the highest city centre quarterly take-up for a year. Manchester accounted for a third of the take-up, while both Cardiff and Bristol saw 100,000 sq ft plus headline deals, with Hugh James Solicitors at 2 Central Square, and HMRC at 3 Glass Wharf, respectively.
Q4 out-of-town take-up amounted to 0.86 million sq ft, up by 4% compared to the five-year quarterly average.
Tom Merrifield, Director and Regional Head of Agency at GVA in Cardiff comments, “Over the past six months there has been little movement in headline rents and rent free incentives, which continue to be supported by the relatively constrained development pipeline and the prospect of significant requirements, which bode well for a similarly robust performance in 2017.”
He adds, “The Cardiff office market was supported by a number of substantial lettings last year with total take-up reaching almost 700,000 sq ft, over a third above the five-year average.”
During 2016, take-up amounted to 8.7 million sq ft across the Big Nine city centre and out-of-town office markets, 3% above the five year average. Cardiff, Manchester and Bristol performed the strongest over the year when compared against the five-year averages.
Professional services sectors were the most active during 2016, making up 27% of all deals over 5,000 sq ft, while financial services made up 19%, with insurance and asset management being particularly strong. The recent strong growth seen in the TMT sector was not sustained during 2016, accounting for 10% of deals, compared to a five year average of 16%.