Industrial Market Review

North West industrial and logistics market review

The lack of quality supply and increasingly specialised occupier requirements across the North West is driving large shed development.  This looks set to continue for the rest of the year.  An oversupply of tertiary stock is holding back confidence in the market place.

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In this issue:

Increase in occupier demand as prime supply dries up

Confidence is improving within the occupational sector and we are starting to see an increase in corporate acquisition activity.

Demand is strong from trade counter operators who have been actively acquiring small units, and parcel distributors who are realigning their portfolios to accommodate the growth in internet retail.

There has been a bubble of activity associated with the JLR Plant at Halewood, which has soaked up availability in Liverpool.

Rents are starting to increase across the region, particularly in the big box sector. This is due to the lack of supply of good quality units and the emergence of the build to suit product.  Developments such as Omega at Warrington, Cutacre at Bolton and The Hive at Speke are just some of the sites benefiting from the region’s lack of supply.

In contrast, there continues to be poor demand for tertiary accommodation of which there is ample supply.

For a detailed breakdown of prime headline rents for H1 2013, please click here or on table 1 to the left of this article.

Key occupational transactions, H1 2013


(sq ft)

Landlord / Vendor

Tenant / Purchaser

(per sq ft)

Omega, Warrington 220,000 Miller

Brake Brothers


Unit 7 Bryn Road  South Lancs, Ashton in Makerfield 210,000 Prudential SCA


Centre Point, Trafford Park 180,000 Prudential K&N


One 175 Winsford, Cheshire 175,000 Receivers Howard Tenens


Universal Point, Old Trafford, Manchester 170,000 Receivers Regetta C

 £20 ( FH)

Omega Warrington 156,000 Miller  Hermes Parcelnet 


The Hive Speke Liverpool 150,000 CDP Projects Johnsons Controls 


Trinity ,Bootle Liverpool  110,000 Hansteen Crown Packaging 

£2.2m (FH)

Source: Lambert Smith Hampton

Lack of supply stimulates development

The continued lack of supply and bespoke nature of end user requirements has led to an increase in the number of build to suit transactions.

Only three small scale speculative developments have commenced on site during the first half of 2013, namely three units totalling 26,000 sq ft in Stockport, one single building of 16,000 sq ft in Bury and six units from 3,000 sq ft – 19,000 sq ft in Burnley.  Further small scale development is pending.

There has been an increase in activity from developers seeking to secure sites, including Seddon Developments, which has recently acquired plots in Chorley and South Manchester.

Barwood has also launched Epic on the M6 corridor where it has recently obtained planning consent for a 600,000 sq ft unit and is due to submit a further bespoke planning application for an end user.

For a detailed breakdown of key grade A availability for H1 2013, please click here or on table 3 to the left of this article.

Predictions for H2 2013

To encourage further speculative development, all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 will be exempt from empty rates for the first 18 months under a new Government initiative.

The second half of 2013 will see the commencement of small scale speculative development in Salford, Speke, Liverpool, and along the M65 in Burnley, all of which has been made viable through grant assistance.

There will also be further announcements of large scale build to suit development in Warrington and Bolton.

There will be a continued hardening of incentives for prime stock and the potential for rental growth as landlords become more confident with reducing voids.

The lack of good quality stock will start to dampen take-up. This is already evident in the mid box sector where only a handful of deals have taken place so far this year.

For a detailed breakdown of take-up for H1 2013, please click here or on table 4 to the left of this article.

Investment volumes improve as central London market becomes overheated

The industrial investment market across the North West showed signs of improvement during the first half of 2013.

Total investment volumes rose by 33% to £61m in H1 2013, compared with £46m in H2 2012.

The most notable transactions include:

A UK-based institutional investor’s purchase of Merlin 310 at Trafford Park Industrial Estate for £19.8m, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.06%;

AUB Commercial’s purchase of i23 Revolution Park in Chorley for £6.6m, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.75%; and

Threadneedle’s purchase of two industrial units on Lockett Road in Wigan for £5.8m, reflecting a net initial yield of 10%.

To view our latest UK Investment Transactions (UKIT) report, please click here.



Size range
(sq ft)

Small units


Medium units


Mid box 


Large units / distribution warehouses


Source: Lambert Smith Hampton


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