Promising signs of recovery for Liverpool office market as workers return
Despite lower than average take-up figures at the start of the year, sentiment is improving across the city, with increased demand for returning to the office.
According to Avison Young’s latest Big Nine report, sentiment is improving in the Liverpool office market, with enquiries and viewing activity beginning to increase. However, this increased optimism did not impact take-up figures for Q1 2021, which amounted to 23,572 sq ft in the city centre and 54,930 sq ft out-of-town, overall 41% below the ten-year quarterly average.
The two largest lettings for the city centre and out of town markets during Q1 were the 20,020 sq ft letting to the Department of Work and Pensions at 90 Duke Street, and Instant Offices taking a lease on 9,430 sq ft at Liverpool Innovation Park, respectively.
Despite the lower than average take-up figures for Q1, the latest data from Avison Young’s UK Cities Recovery Index shows that over the past week, the Return To Office Sector Index for Liverpool has observed the strongest growth of 2021 so far, and now reads at 56.7 as of 26th April. Although there has been no change in government advice for individuals to work from home where possible, this growth suggests that there is an appetite to get back into the office.
Ian Steele, Principal at Avison Young’s Liverpool office, said: “We started the year with another national lockdown, which has obviously had a negative impact on take up figures for Q1, but there has been an improvement in both sentiment and demand during the past couple of months which will hopefully translate into transactional activity in the second half of the year.
“Occupiers continue to undertake strategic reviews of their existing offices, with many exercising breaks, regearing leases or looking to downsize and acquire better quality space, with a greater emphasis on health and wellbeing, flexibility and amenities. This is primarily down to an increase in occupiers adopting a more flexible approach to working practices offering employees and staff a combination of both home and office working, which is likely to continue once restrictions have been lifted.
“Once businesses start to return to the office, this is likely to be the catalyst for many occupiers to start to revisit and reactivate their occupational requirements which is already being reflected with an increase in demand and the number of transactions in lawyers’ hands.
Avison Young’s Big Nine report covers the nine major cities outside of London: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.