SMEs drive Liverpool H1 office take up

Alaska House, Atlantic Park, Bootle, Liverpool

The SME market within Liverpool City Centre has accounted for the majority of office transactions within the first half of the year, with the out of town market facing a shortage of supply following a number of large deals according to new research from leading   firms within Property Agents Group of Professional Liverpool.

85 transactions completed in Liverpool City Centre in H1 2015, 60% more than 2014, which is a record. Averaging at less than 1,500 sq ft, the deals have been small but this could all change in the second half of the year.

Stuart Keppie, Partner at Keppie Massie, and Chair of the Group comments; “Traditionally take-up usually gathers pace as the year progresses. The exception, in recent years, was 2014, where the first half was 250,000 sq ft buoyed by the City Council occupation of 85,000 sq ft  The take up for the Commercial District for 2015 half year is 120,000 sq ft which is higher than 2012 and 2013. What is exceptional is the number of transactions. This is a clear indicator of the activity in the indigenous small market although it should be noted that there have been more transactions over 2,500 sq ft than for any of the last three years.”

Andrew Byrne, Senior Surveyor of office agency at CBRE Liverpool, comments; “After consecutive years of growth both in the city centre and the out of town market; 2015 was met with great anticipation. Whilst initial take up in Q1 was slow, the SME market has again remained strong within the city region and we expect transactions across the remainder of the year to bolster the take up figures with a number of deals in excess of 10,000 sq ft looming.”

The Property Agents Group reports that in the city centre, the professional sector accounted for around 30% of transactions, followed closely by the creative and digital sector with just over 20% of transactions.

Stuart further comments; “The take up has been most prominent in the professional and creative media sectors along with a large number of less orthodox occupiers. Lack of activity, so far, has been evident in the public sector and the associated outsourcing. The general feeling for the city centre is one of cautious encouragement. The issue going forward is one of supply particularly in the small suites market.”

The out of town market on the other hand has seen much larger deals as supply diminishes. The largest deal was the sale of Vortex House (22,900 sq ft) for conversion to a studio school.

Andrew continues; “The volume of transactions in the out of town market is less than that of the city centre, but the aggregate size of space transacted increases significantly and H1 take up stands at 133,300 sq ft; eclipsing H1 take up of 70,000 sq ft in 2014.The issue going forward in the out of town market will be lack of supply. We have already seen evidence of this in 2015 with the sale of Vortex House and a number of occupiers taking space in Alaska House; leaving limited options for an occupier seeking in excess of 10,000 sq ft.”

The Property Agents Group within Professional Liverpool consists of CBRE, Keppie Massie, GVA Billfinger, Hitchcock Wright & Partners, LSH, Matthews and Goodman and Mason and Partners.