SPRING IS HERE AND THE MARKET IS SHINING

As I sit at my computer writing this the sun is beaming through an open window and the market is starting to blossom along with the trees.

Despite the Brexit effect ever present the Bank of England reports better inflation figures and the likelihood of early rise in interest rates becoming more distant, the sentiment in the commercial and land property market is good with plenty of interest pursuing an ever decreasing availability of product.

Recently we put up for sale 2 retail investments on the market in Oldswinford – we were inundated with enquiries and following a hectic series of viewings and final and best bids received we agreed sales of both within a few weeks of going on the market. This is a clear indication of demand outstripping supply.

Elsewhere on the land front, especially residential development land, the interest is brisk. All of the sites we currently have available are either under offer or sold subject to contract.

Developers are wishing to take advantage of an improving residential market where demand is outstripping supply by a growing margin.

We are appraising land and developments now at a swift pace so is it time to look at your property assets and land. We have a team of specialists in the Planning, Design and Highways ready to work with you to maximise your assets. This level of activity is against the back drop of a series of major planning events within our area where the land supply for new housing is diminishing and Local Authorities are having to consider the future of brownfield land and are about to embark upon a national Green Belt Review to ease the vast gap between house construction and demand from a growing population.

The Greater Birmingham Authorities have now released the G L Hearn Report – “The Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area (HMA) Strategic Growth Study”. The HMA comprises the Black Country and parts of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire. It comprises local authorities within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Black Country LEP together with South Staffordshire; as well as North Warwickshire and Stratford-on-Avon Districts which fall within an area of overlap between the Birmingham and Coventry/Warwickshire HMA.

This document considers how to accommodate the areas future growth and concludes that on the basis of the current evidence provision of between 205,000 – 246,000 homes is needed across the Birmingham HMA to 2031; and provision of between 256,000 and 310,000 homes to 2036 (from a 2011 baseline) to meet the Birmingham HMA’s housing needs.

The study therefore concludes there is a developable land supply of some 180,000 dwellings across the HMA to 2031, and 198,000 dwellings to 2036 based on sites and supply currently identified.

The analysis indicates that based on current supply assumptions, and taking into account proposed allocations in emerging local plans, there is an outstanding minimum shortfall of 28,150 dwellings to 2031 and 60,900 dwellings to 2036 across the whole Birmingham HMA. This is a challenging figure bearing in mind the current availability of land and the speed developers can build.

We are currently advising on sites from 1 or 2 houses up to strategic areas within the 1,000’s across the Black Country and Worcestershire. With the emerging plans and policies it is essential to act now if you would like your own land considered. This is a long and expensive process and we can advise on how this can be undertaken at no cost or risks to the landowners.

The Bank of England’s Summary of Business Conditions for the first quarter report in the commercial property arena, capacity had tightened, reflecting a lack of properties coming onto the market combined with a modest rise in demand from investors. Across the UK, there continued to be appetite from foreign investors, most notably from Asia.

Valuations on distribution sheds and warehouses had continued to increase in response to the shift towards online retail. Investor demand for office space had been mixed. New and more flexible ways of working have been leading to greater occupier demand for smaller office premises, rendering older buildings less attractive. The lack of new office stock, however, had helped to support valuations. Occupier demand for prime retail space had remained decent. However, in secondary retail property, investor demand had continued to decline, reflecting the challenging retail environment.

Housing market activity had remained subdued. Lack of stock in the secondary market was depressing demand by limiting choice for prospective buyers. However, demand for new‑build property was robust, supported by the Help to Buy scheme. Mortgage activity was dominated by remortgaging deals as homeowners looked to lock‑in low fixed‑rate deals in anticipation of further interest rate rise.

So as well as enjoying the improving weather take a moment to think about your land and property, take advice from the professionals too.

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