LSH invited public sector organisations and local authority clients to its Annual Real Estate Advisory Forum (AREA F), which it hosted in Birmingham.
Adam Ramshaw, LSH regional director for Birmingham and the East Midlands, said that the number of deals in Q2 was up by 13 per cent on the average. There had been a flight to quality, with investors becoming risk averse and looking for security of income. There remained an almost insatiable appetite for industrial/warehouse investments, he said.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK is still seen as a safe haven and a hotbed for investment, he added, with almost half the deals done by value concluded by overseas investors.
“By the end of the year we expect investment levels will be at around £55 billion to £60 billion. There is intense competition for secure income, but some uncertainty around the strength of the secondary market. Retail faces the biggest challenge and there may be some pain to come in that market. The most confidence is in the industrial market and that will continue for some time,” added Adam.
Office agency director Alex Tross said there had been mixed fortunes for cities and offices across the Midlands region, with Birmingham continuing to set the standard.
While Birmingham is experiencing an upswing in activity, with 587,000 sq ft of office accommodation being built and 360,000 sq ft of that already pre-let, Coventry may lose opportunities to attract companies due to a lack of Grade A office space and no new offices being built.
Outside London, Birmingham is leading the charge in the provision of serviced offices. “Birmingham has seen the fastest growth outside London in terms of the launch of new businesses, with 80% growth since 2010. New businesses typically gravitate towards serviced offices, and they are finding a much greater range of choice in the city as providers take up traditional office space, such as Somerset House where five serviced office providers were keen to acquire the 47,000 sq ft of space,” said Alex.
“This could represent a threat to landlords of office buildings in the city. More young people are coming to Birmingham from London than any other city. The challenge is to provide them with aspirational office space, that is attractive to work in and makes employees more productive, by copying what the services office sector is providing. Landlords need to compete effectively or risk losing out.”
The forum was supported with a legal update from Zo Hoidon, of Browne Jacobson, and Graham Waring, of Rolton, who outlined the growth in electric vehicle usage and the impact this could potentially have on the property industry.
The forum is just one of many ways LSH is engaging with its public sector client bases, with stakeholders from across the region joining together to discuss the hot topics affecting the sector.
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