According to research from CBRE, takeup of office space in cities surrounding the Central London area totaled 1.1 million square feet in the last quarter of 2020.
While this was a 138% increase from the third quarter of 2020, overall takeup for 2020 saw a 40% decline on the five-year average.
Manchester saw some of the best performance, ending the year with 349,500 square feet of transactions which was a 415% increase compared to the previous quarter.
This largest UK deal of the fourth quarter included BT Property, which pre-let a 175,680 square foot space in Manchester. Additionally, BT was responsible for the biggest deal of the year, leasing 280,000 square feet in Birmingham.
Availability also grew across the UK’s markets, increasing by 16% from the end of 2019 for a total of 15 million square feet by the end of 2020.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the office leasing market which ended 2020 well below average. However we are starting to see a gentle recovery across the major UK office markets, buoyed by regional activity,” said Paige Slade, senior research analyst at CBRE. “We continue to see the strongest demand for high quality, amenity rich space. Whilst we don’t expect leasing demand to be strong in H1 2021, by the end of the year we should start to see demand return to more normal levels, with new space outperforming secondary space.”