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CONFIDENCE RETURNS

Well the election has been and gone and a clear result with a majority Government now finding its feet and policy announcements starting to appear. The stock market has rallied and the general overview from the business community is quietly confident that the market will continue to improve. We have seen the level of commercial enquiries improve with the threat of an uncertain political future now behind us. Plans for expansion and investment are set to commence and we are currently handling a number of property requirements where clients are seeking to expand premises especially in the freehold arena.

Office lettings have also improved as for the first time in many years we have now fully let all of the offices and workshops at Hagley Mews and the Old Woodyard in Hagley and have under offer all our remaining office space in the village itself.

We have renewed interest in buildings in Stourbridge Town Center having recently completed the sale the last former Doctors Surgery in Worcester Street which is to be converted into a serviced office centre. Elsewhere in the town the long awaited redevelopment of the former Labour Club Site moves a step closer as the site is now under offer for redevelopment as residential care.

We are also about to place on the market an unusual property with major development potential, The Old Savoy Cinema in Lower High Street is to be marketed by Walton and Hipkiss as a redevelopment / refurbishment opportunity for residential, commercial or retail use. The site is freehold and extends from Lower High Street to the Crown Lane and the ring road and is immediately adjacent to the new £58 million redevelopment of the Crown Centre and major public car parking.

The May Inflation report by the Bank of England Monetary Committee, to which we contribute, reports “GDP growth was robust in 2014, moderating in the second half of the year. Despite the weakness in 2015 Q1, the outlook for growth remains solid. Household real incomes have been boosted by the fall in food, energy and imported goods prices. The absorption of remaining slack and a pickup in productivity growth are expected to support wage growth in the period ahead. Along with the low cost of finance, that will help maintain domestic demand growth. Activity in the United States and a number of emerging markets has slowed but momentum in the euro area appears to have strengthened over the quarter as a whole.”

Followed hot of the press is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors May Commercial Property update to which we contribute further reports “The latest data from the recently released Q1 2015 RICS UK Commercial Property Market Survey shows conditions continuing to tighten significantly on both the occupier and investment sides of the market. Given this, we project annual rental growth to accelerate as the year progresses (currently 3.1%) while the pace of capital value gains (11.2% at present) should remain close to double digit territory. Furthermore, we now anticipate, on the basis of feedback to the survey, that commercial property investment will deliver total returns of14% over 2015 (previous forecast 13%)”

Residential property demand is brisk with sales volume up and more sales at or close to the asking prices with supply and demand forces coming into play. Stock levels are down and on new builds sales are also good. The refurbishment of the former Royal Glassworks at Brierley Hill is nearing practical completion with only one property remaining available out of a total of 27 which were launched of plan in the autumn of last year. The scheme comprises 1 & 2 bedroom apartments and 2 and 3 bedroom houses.

So summer on the horizon – longer days to enjoy and a level of confidence in the commercial property market growing on the back of a clean political national vote – this could be a summer to surprise us and not one we perhaps imagined may happen. 

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