01 May 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Take-up across the nine biggest office markets amounted to two million square feet of floor space during the first quarter of 2019 - 4 per cent below the 10-year average, according to data from Avison Young.
The out-of-town market performed better than the city centres compared with the average, shows information from the international commercial property consultant.
Sectoral activity was dominated by the private sector: professional, financial and consumer services, while there was very little activity by the public sector.
City centre office construction is at its highest level since 2007, standing at more than five million sq ft - half of which is pre-let.
The total volume of office investment across the Big Nine cities during Q1 amounted to £244 million, compared with the 10-year quarterly average of £543 million.
The strongest take-up in the city centre markets was boosted by key deals such as the Commonwealth Games (72,260 sq ft) in Birmingham, and Link Asset Services (71,300 sq ft) in Leeds. Similarly, the deal to the Church of Scientology (48,600 sq ft) ensured almost double the average take-up in Edinburgh's out-of-town market.
The two key deals to Eversheds Sutherland in Manchester and Irwin Mitchell in Birmingham meant that legal services dominated the professional services sector, with engineering and property companies accounting for most of the remaining activity, which is in line with long-term trends.
The strong level of take-up in the co-working sector has continued, with four deals all over 20,000 sq ft. While the technology, media and telecommunications sector was slightly down on average, over half the activity was in the computing and software sub-sector.