GVA’S Big Nine Report shows Bristol out-of-town market strengthens as city remains buoyant

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Augustine's Courtyard

GVA has been driving this quarter’s biggest commercial property deals, as highlighted in the leading property adviser’s Big Nine report, which shows that the Bristol market continues to perform well compared to many other business centres across the country. As supply of commercial office space continues to shrink in Bristol city centre, the out-of-town market has strengthened as businesses look to the fringe market.

The Big Nine report, which reviews take-up of office space across nine major cities in the UK, shows that Manchester is soaring ahead in take-up in both in and out-of-town in Quarter One, but Bristol records the third highest city centre take-up closely behind Birmingham for the same time period. Bristol recorded 126,319 sq ft in Quarter One in the city centre, compared to 136,303 sq ft in Birmingham, and 208,233 sq ft in Manchester.

Alex Riddell, Associate at GVA in Bristol comments, “Although city centre take-up is down against the five-year average across all of the Big Nine cities, Bristol has put in a comparatively strong performance against other major cities, such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool.  Activity appears more resilient out-of-town, where Bristol was one of three centres to record above average take-up.”

Out-of-town take up was 89,774 sq ft in Bristol, compared to its five-year average of 74,697 sq ft.

GVA has been involved with the city’s two biggest deals in the first quarter.

Alex continues, “The biggest deal in the city during Quarter One was the sale of Augustine’s Courtyard at 31,785 sq ft to the University of Bristol, where we acted for Schroders alongside CBRE, and was the third largest city centre deal in the nine centres studied in our report.   Out-of-town, the largest deal was at 435 Bristol Business Park where we acted for UWE in the letting of 18,377 sq ft to Boeing Defence UK.

“Unusually the largest deals in the city were to owner occupiers.  As well as the sale of Augustine’s Courtyard, White Oak Capital will occupy part of the 34,500 sq ft they bought at 40 Berkeley Square.”

He adds, “The level of enquiries received during Quarter One remains strong with a number of indigenous requirements for 5,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft providing the bulk of demand and with a number of deals currently moving through lawyers we are confident the strong take-up will continue in Quarters Two and Three.”

The high rate of office to resi conversion schemes continues to result in a lack of choice for occupiers in town, consequently alongside out-of-town take-up rising, grade B rents in the city centre have shown very strong growth in recent years, almost doubling in some locations, whilst prime grade A rents have seen a flatter growth profile.