North West regains strength in Q3 following difficult start to 2009
According to statistics from officebroker.com, enquiries in Q1 2009 for the North West were down -6% when compared to the same period in 2008. Q2 2009 then widened the year-on-year gap further, producing enquiries that were down -10% compared to Q2 2008. Q2 2009 was also down -11% compared with the first quarter of 2009.
However in Q3 2009, enquiries for the North West region began to show a more positive result. The quarter culminated in a 4% increase over the same period in 2008, along with a 20% increase when compared to the previous quarter in 2009.
The below graph shows the shape of enquiries over the first three quarters of 2009 when compared to the same period in 2008.
As the biggest source of enquiries for the North West, Manchester often has a large influence over the region’s performance.
Interestingly, in accordance with this, the shape of enquiries for Manchester over the first three quarters shows a similar pattern to that of the North West as a whole. In 2009, enquiries in Manchester were down -28% in Q2 when compared with the previous quarter, but figures then improved by 31% in Q3 when compared with Q2.
Liverpool, another major source of enquiries in the North West, also produced a drop in enquiries in Q2, which then increased by 26% in Q3.
This is a similar pattern to that of the region overall – however neither Manchester nor Liverpool produced enough of an increase in Q3 to exceed the level reached in Q1. In contrast, the North West concluded the third quarter with a rise in enquiries that brought Q3 2009 above the level of both Q2 and Q1.
See the below graph for a comparison between the pattern of enquiries for the North West region (left), and the cities of Manchester and Liverpool (right).
The graph shows that enquiries in Q3 for the North West as a whole are clearly above that of the level reached in Q1. In comparison, Manchester and Liverpool – although showing an increase in enquiries for Q3 when compared with Q2 – have not exceeded the number of enquiries reached in Q1.
Therefore it appears that in order to achieve this regional increase in Q3 over Q1, enquiries by the larger cities of Manchester and Liverpool were not enough. Consequently, enquiries in Q3 seem to have been boosted by a number of smaller towns in the North West.
According to officebroker.com’s figures throughout the first 9 months of 2009, the town of Crewe produced the biggest increase of 81% in Q3 when compared to Q1. Oldham produced the next most significant increase of 68%, followed by Blackburn with 27% and Blackpool with 25%.
Although these towns typically produce a smaller set of enquiries when compared to the major cities of Manchester and Liverpool, the results produced by a combination of cities along with these smaller towns in the area has helped to bring the level of enquiries up during the third quarter.
The appeal of smaller towns outside the city centre could be in response to the economic climate. Despite numerous claims that the UK economy could soon be out of the recession, many firms and small businesses throughout the UK continue to struggle against a difficult economy.
Therefore the cost-saving advantages of smaller towns such as Oldham and Blackburn, which are outside the main commercial hubs of Manchester and Liverpool, could be drawing small firms away from the North West’s major cities.
However, despite being located outside of the main commercial cities, these towns still offer excellent access through a number of transport links. For example, Oldham is just 20 – 30 minutes away from Manchester city centre via the A62, A663 or the main Manchester ring road, the M60.
Many of these smaller towns offer an excellent springboard to other parts of the country, and combined with their typical low office rents and cost-saving advantages, are potentially more likely to appeal to small and medium-sized businesses – especially during a challenging economy.
Therefore despite a difficult first six months of 2009, this combination of increased enquiries for smaller towns along with the stable performance of larger cities such as Manchester, has helped produce a positive conclusion to Q3 for the North West region.
To find out more about office space to rent in Manchester, Liverpool, or any other locations in the North West, go online at officebroker.com or speak to one of our regional consultants for free help and advice.
For a month-on-month comparison of North West enquiries, take a look at our report: North West office space enquiries approach 2008 peak.