Real estate adviser GVA recently released their first quarterly report of 2017 into the performance of the UK’s ‘big nine’ city markets in terms of regional office take-up, and the results are not exactly promising.

Despite the fact the London seems to be recovering well from the uncertainly brought on by Brexit, other cities throughout the UK are not so fortunate, with regional office take-up hitting a five year low in the first quarter of 2017.

The UK’s ‘big nine’ is comprised of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle. Across these markets, regional office take-up in the city centre has dropped by 23% as compared to the five year quarterly average. Out of town markets fared better, being down just 1% from the five year average.

Breaking it down to individual cities, Cardiff was the only one amongst the big nine to see an increase on the five year average in the city centre. In out of town markets, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Newcastle each saw a small increase, with Newcastle experiencing the largest rise.

Img: GVA
Professional services made up 28% of all take-up activity over 5,000sq ft in the city centre during Q1, slightly higher than the usual profile, led by legal and engineering firms. The education sub-sector accounted for 15% of activity, largely due to deals with universities in Cardiff and Bristol. The TMT sector upped its share by 5% compared to the average, reaching 18% in Q1 of 2017.

Carl Potter, Senior Director and National Head of Offices at GVA, commented on the results, “Encouragingly, the level of transactional activity tends to increase quarter on quarter during the year. Following the Government Property Unit’s deal in Bristol in December, no further GPU deals have been signed yet this year. However, transactions are being lined up in seven other cities across the Big Nine cities, most of which are well progressed and these very large deals will be a considerable boost to take-up figures throughout the year.

“For some cities, such as Manchester, the below average Q1 take-up can be put down to several factors, including the fact that the sheer number of transactions in the final three months of 2016 suggested that we were likely to see reduced figures at the start of this year.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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