While some suggest the commercial property market is feeling the pinch, the office agency team at King Sturge has noticed a much more positive picture in central Birmingham.
Research shows that figures for the first quarter of 2008 are 34 per cent higher (171,746ft transacted) than the first quarter for 2007.
More transactions are happening, with over 30 having been completed so far this year in central Birmingham.
King Sturge is itself reporting a healthy level of activity, in the past month completing a number of key office transactions.
* acquiring 5,500 sq ft at Alpha Tower, for Network Rail from the landlord, Catalyst Capital;
* 6,500 sq ft let to the Midlands Rail Assessment panel in Louisa House, Quay Place;
* letting 4,000 sq ft to Sir Robert McAlpine at Latham House on behalf of the landlord Hortons' Estate;
* 1,100 sq ft at 21 Bennett's Hill let to Headline Communications for Hortons' Estate;
* 2,223 sq ft let at 54 Hagley Road to O'Neill & Brennan on behalf of the landlord Capital and Counties.
King Sturge also has a further 35,000 sq ft under offer at Capital and Counties' 54 Hagley Road in Edgbaston.
"This year got off to an excellent start in the central Birmingham market with Global Investment giant, Deutsche Bank taking 69,000 sq ft of space at 1 Brindleyplace and reports that Wragge & Co has just committed up to 250,000 sq ft pre-let at Ballymore's Snow Hill development, which in terms of an office agency letting, is an absolute leviathan" said senior associate Charles Warrack.
"We haven't experienced a slow down in activity and so far the uncertainties of the financial markets aren't rocking occupiers confidence in that there is still plenty of activity, although they are a bit more cautious about the details of a deal."
King Sturge's valuations team is also reporting strong activity in the Midlands market.
Peter Clarke, valuation partner at King Sturge, says: "We have found that there is more finance available for property investors than anticipated at the beginning of the year, although the best projects tend to be those that offer something special in prime strategic locations such as the city centre.
"Our recent activity certainly shows that there are banks still willing to provide finance for debt purchases."
According to King Sturge, 2008 is the first year for a long time that occupiers have some very real choice in the office market - both in terms of range of specifications of the office accommodation available but also the span of available rental prices and budget costs of occupation.
Colmore Plaza is now complete and the other two speculative schemes underway at 45 Church Street and One Snowhill are progressing well and are already being coupled with a number of known requirements in the market.
In addition, the final phase of construction is moving ahead at Argent's Brindleyplace, Birmingham Development Company's The Cube and Calthorpe Estate's Calthorpe House in Edgbaston.
In each case, the developer is striving for Breeam "excellent" ratings and, according to pundits like King Sturge, represents a new wave of sustainable office schemes attracting tenants with a new corporate social responsibility agenda.