4 May 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Take-up of office space during the first quarter of the year across the 'Big Nine' cities was at the lowest level for five years, according to GVA.
Activity was particularly low in the city centre market (23 per cent below average), where only Cardiff recorded above average take-up.
Activity was more resilient out of town, where Newcastle, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bristol recorded above average take-up.
In terms of deal size across the city centres this quarter, there were no transactions above 50,000 square feet to boost the figures.
While mid-size deals were more common than average, there were fewer smaller 'churn' deals below 10,000 sq ft.
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', most of which are well progressed and these very large deals will be a considerable boost to take-up figures throughout the year.
The level of transactional activity tended to increase quarter on quarter during the year.
Between 2009 and 2016, Q4 total take-up was a third higher than Q1 take-up. Professional services made up 28 per cent of all take-up over 5,000 sq ft in the city centre during Q1 - slightly higher than the usual profile - led by legal and engineering firms.
Deals to universities in Cardiff and Bristol meant that the education sub-sector made up 15 per cent of activity. It was a strong quarter for the technology, media, and telecoms sector, which increased its share to 18 per cent compared with an average of 13 per cent, while recruitment companies were also very active (9 per cent of take-up).