TAKE-UP of office space in Southampton was at its highest for 10 years in the first quarter of 2020 despite the pandemic, research suggests.

Commercial property giant CBRE found 58,650sqft of offices were taken up in the quarter.

That made for the strongest first quarter on record and an increase of 100 per cent on the 10-year average for the first three months of each year.

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The findings were in contrast to the UK as a whole, where take-up fell 74 per cent compared with the same period in 2020 and 40 per cent on the five-year average for the quarter.

The biggest local transaction saw the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) take almost 24,000sqft at Frobisher House at Nelson Gate.

Mott MacDonald acquired 11,850 sq ft at Mountbatten House, Grosvenor Square, one of Southampton’s most prestigious landmark offices.

Other deals included Cambridge Education Group acquiring Imperial House and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) also taking space in Mountbatten House.

Emma Lockey, director of CBRE Southampton, said: “After facing some of the biggest challenges during 2020, Southampton has seen the strongest the first quarter in office take-up terms for almost a decade.

“As with a number of other cities UK cities, government departments have led the way, leasing over 50,000 sq ft across the south coast.

“Grade A space is continuing to drive demand and this is a trend we expect to see continue.

“Office availability in Southampton still remains at relatively low levels, currently sitting at 7.7 per cent.

“All of this is second hand space, but we are anticipating some new Grade A to become available later in 2021.”

Across the South Coast there were several other significant office transactions with the DWP taking 24,000sqft at Tringham House in Bournemouth at a headline rent of £23 per square foot.

Arena Business Centres acquired Grosvenor House on Basing View, which it plans to redevelop into 56,000sqft of flexible space.

CBRE Group is headquartered in Dallas and is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, based on 2020 revenue.