Latest Q1 statistics from  Colliers International’s Bristol office reveal  business is picking up across the city centre but is still falling short of  pre-recession highs.

Broad Quay based National offices specialist James Preece said: “The Q1 stats reveal rather a mixed picture with larger numbers of smaller deals, many of them in the sub-3,000 sq ft bracket.

“After a disappointing finish to last year city centre take-up in Bristol is up by an impressive 76 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Pipeline deals look promising for the remainder of the year and poor quality stock continues to be taken out of the market for permitted development into residential accommodation.

“This all points to a fast moving and fast recovering sector.  However, with no deals over 25,000 sq ft and take up down on the same quarter of 2013 some caution should be taken before celebrating the return of the boom times.”

James Preece said professional and financial services continue to dominate the city centre but there had also been an increase in demand from recruitment consultants who appear to be expanding.

“The recent trend for Grade C office stock being converted for alternative uses has removed some  95,000 sq ft   from the market in Q1. This, combined with better economic conditions, is encouraging businesses to relocate to better specification offices.”

 The out-of-town market is also   recovering well with total take up of  108,000 sq ft  - more than double the previous quarter and 9 per cent up on the five year average for Q1.

Headline deals saw  Broadcom   taking 25,000 sq ft at 910 Aztec West. The NHS also took 24,000 sq ft at Highwood Pavillions, at Cribbs Causeway.

“Average deal size  out-o- town for Q1 was circa 6,000 sq ft  with the number of deals up 38 per cent on the same quarter of 2013.”

James Preece concluded: “After taking an unexpected a dip in   Q4 2013, take-up has bounced back in the first quarter of 2014. Both the city centre and the out-of-town office markets have shown significant improvement and the current level of requirements indicates this should continue throughout this year.”