STOURBRIDGE AND THE SUN IS SHINING

Well summer seems to have started well – hot weather and we are even winning at football (…. so far anyway)

The commercial property market still continues to flourish. We have seen a spate of activity with a number of commercial properties and investments now sold and let under competition and with multiple bids with good demand elsewhere. In Hagley the offices at Hagley Hall are all let and we have a queue of potential tenants with nowhere to go. The same is true in Stourbridge with very little office accommodation available. The Old Library has now been sold to developers and work has commenced on the transformation of the building into 23 luxury apartments with 10 sales already agreed.

We now only have a few rooms left at Haywood House, a Grade II listed building on New Road adjacent to Aldi. The owner has undertaken a refurbishment and small suites are available fully refurbished from £200 per calendar month all inclusive.

In the High Street news has emerged that Lidl are possibly going to consider the relocation of its Brettell Lane store into the town centre which would give a much needed boost to the shoppers and retailers in the town. A number of new businesses have recently opened in the wider centre creating a wider offer and a busier feel to the town.

The proposed BID (Business Improvement District) for Stourbridge is an arrangement whereby businesses get together, decide what additional improvements they want to make to their location, how they are going to manage and deliver those improvements and what they are prepared to pay to make it happen. This is now under detailed consideration and this would bring much needed investment in the town to improve the public realm, security and well-being with the aim to attract new shoppers, more spend and visitors to our town centre. The BID area covers the entire town centre located within the Ring Road. BID’s all over the country have successfully helped to protect and enhance many town centre functions.

Freehold property sales have outstripped lettings again this quarter as business owners remain very keen to purchase their own office building. Any freehold office we put onto the market at present generally attracts a high degree of interest and normally multiple offers. this strong desire for freehold offices is likely to remain unabated for the foreseeable future due to continuing low interest rates, the willingness of the banks to lend to acquire property together with the tax advantages.

This demand I underlined by the recent sale of two courtyard office buildings at Mill Pool in  Belbroughton – purchased by owners looking to take advantage of acquiring their office building through an individual or directors’ pension fund, via a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) scheme or a Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS). Taking into account the borrowing limits, offices of up to 3,500 sq ft are still generally affordable, especially as the banks are willing to lend and interest rates remain low.

On the land front we are seeing a steady demand for sites with residential consent and ready for development, all our available site at present are under offer or subject to obtaining planning consents.

In the larger investment category we are also seeing further investment in our area with the Crystal Centre retail park in Amblecote, Stourbridge, being sold for £2.25 million to private investors at a net initial yield of 8.92 per cent.

The Crystal Centre, on Platts Road, is a retail warehouse scheme comprising five units, totalling 14,987 sq ft. The units are fully let to Tesco, Halfords, Bathstore, Pizza Hut and KFC, generating a total annual rental income of £213,422. Stourbridge is an affluent town and The Crystal Centre is ideally located on one of the main arterial routes into the town. Its prominent location, strong covenants and asset management opportunities make this an excellent investment.

So the lesson is if you are looking at your property ownership take professional advice on how to maximise your returns. If you are looking for new premises don’t rely on going just “on-line” it maybe to late so talk to the experts then they will be ahead of the market when new property becomes available.

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